Arthritis of the knee is known as the most common arthritis and affects numerous people of various ages. In fact, arthritis can take a big toll on the life of the sufferer. However, not all arthritis is equally harmful to the patients.
A cartilage inflammation in the knee joint is the main cause of arthritis. As the cartilage thins, a scar tissue starts to form. In time, the inflammation takes place and the disease takes root. The result is severe pain that can be unbearable.
Cartilage is a fibrous outer covering of bones. It is a porous material that is covered by a semi-flexible layer of skin and fat. The cartilage that cushions the bone is covered with synovial fluid that lubricates it. The fluid also helps to absorb shock and compression during normal activities of the body.
Unlike other joints, the knee joint is very elastic. When the cartilage loses its elasticity, arthritis occurs. This means that the damage is more significant than when normal wear and tear take place. When the cartilage of the knee joint has become loose, a great deal of pressure is exerted on the tendon from its surrounding area.
When the cartilage begins to degenerate, scar tissue can form. As the cartilage shrinks, it causes the synovial fluid to fill with fluid. This is a major reason for the pain in the knee joint. On the other hand, osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, damages the cartilage. Once the cartilage is damaged, it cannot recover.
Various forms of treatments are available including prescription medicines like corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ASAIDS), and glucocorticoids. As the most commonly used treatment is a steroid, it is important to remember that not all patients have to use the same steroid. An osteoarthritis patient may be prescribed steroids for a short time to minimize pain and inflammation.
Once the problem has been identified, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen and Motrin are used as short term and long term treatment. These drugs are prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in the knee.
Steroid therapy includes prednisone and dexamethasone, which are used to reduce inflammation and increase mobility of the joint. Corticosteroids are used in large doses to lessen swelling.
NSAIDs are often combined with corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve inflammation and pain. Patients are also advised to take anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Aleve, Zyrtec, and Motrin.
The use of corticosteroids is known to produce adverse side effects such as kidney failure, gastric bleeding, liver failure, rapid weight gain, and malnutrition. Other side effects include insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, depression, headaches, blurred vision, seizures, ulcers, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, fluid retention, dizziness, facial swelling, and dry mouth. As corticosteroids are an essential component of the treatment, it is essential to discuss these side effects with your doctor before starting treatment.
The only benefit of using corticosteroids is to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis. If the side effects are tolerable, corticosteroids can help you control the pain and inflammation but it is always best to visit your doctor before using them.