“What should I do about osteoarthritis in my knee?” | NOW

Every week Edwin de Vaal, general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or suspicious question from his practice. This week it is: I have osteoarthritis in my knee. What can I do?

How do you know if you have osteoarthritis in your knee?

“With osteoarthritis, the knee is thicker. It can also be a little red and warm, and you often suffer from morning stiffness: your knee doesn’t start well in the morning. The doctor can determine the diagnosis based on the physical exam and your history. Knee no x-ray needed. “

What exactly is osteoarthritis?

“Osteoarthritis is the disappearance of cartilage. It doesn’t usually appear until the age of fifty. It also occurs in other joints. But the knees and hips are a notorious place for osteoarthritis.”

“With osteoarthritis, the cartilage in your knee thins. As a result, the bones rub more or less on top of each other. In response, the tissue around the knee often becomes inflamed. This causes pain and stiffness. As a result of this reaction, the abrasion often grows. Additional bone The edges of the knees. This can make your knee look a little different and the joint wider. “

Is there anything I can do about osteoarthritis?

“Not against the wear and tear itself. But osteoarthritis often causes great pain. And there is something you can do about it. The doctor recommends painkillers first: two tablets of paracetamol two or three times a day.”

“Walking, cycling, swimming and exercise are good for the knee. And lose weight if you are overweight; then the knee does not have to carry this excess weight. “

Do you have to see a doctor with osteoarthritis symptoms?

“Yes. In some cases knee problems are caused by something else, for example a worn hip. In any case, however, it is good to discuss your symptoms with the doctor and to know the diagnosis. The doctor can talk to you as best as possible Vote way and Which pain reliever is most useful in your case? “

“Sometimes paracetamol doesn’t help enough. Then the doctor can add an anti-inflammatory agent. But especially after the age of sixty these can cause unpleasant side effects on the stomach and kidneys. So always start with anti-inflammatory drugs in consultation with your doctor.”

Surely there are injections that help against osteoarthritis?

The doctor may give a cortisone injection into the painful joint: a syringe containing a type of prednisone that reduces inflammation at the area. This relieves the pressure on the joint, you have less pain and the knee becomes more flexible. After a while, it just gets more flexible. worked and you have to take another syringe. Of course, you can’t repeat this forever.

What else can you do

“An artificial knee can be an option. It depends on your situation and your age whether this is useful and sensible. It is therefore also good to discuss your symptoms with the doctor. It is a combination of age, other diseases and the number of complaints someone has. Ultimately, you and the orthopedic surgeon decide what makes the most sense in your case. “

Should you stop moving?

“Certainly not! Exercise is extremely important in osteoarthritis. It keeps the joint and your muscles flexible. Walking, cycling, swimming, and exercise are good for the knee. And lose weight if you are overweight; the knee does not have to be overweight. wear.”