During early Arthritis, patients find it difficult to sit on the floor, or complain of pain on climbing stairs. Most such cases can be managed effectively, with exercises, lifestyle modification, and physiotherapy.
As Arthritis progresses, patients feel that they are able to perform less activity over the years. However, they are still manage to carry out their daily routine activities, without help.
Patients are first evaluated with a standing AP and Lateral X ray views of the affected knee. If there is any suspicion of infective or inflammatory arthritis, some blood test like ESR, CRP, Rheumatoid factor, Serum Uric Acid or sometimes a joint aspiration cytology are also performed.
Most cases of Early Knee Arthritis can be successfully managed with Weight management, modification of activities and regular Exercises.
As Arthritis becomes more advanced, patients often need physiotherapy sessions to control pain and improve joint motion. It is often recommended to use stick support for walking. This helps in offloading the pressure changes on the painful side.
There are some other modalities available with variable results, like Viscosupplementation, Interferon Alpha blockers, Glucosamine & Chondroitin sulphate, Bracing. The results with these interventions are not uniform. Hence, the patients should be offered such a plan only after careful risk benefit analysis.
Most patients with early knee Arthritis tend to do better with low impact exercises regimen. I often advocate for Walking/ Swimming/ Cycling to improve on the muscle strength without adverse impact on the painful joint.