Have you been told you have knee arthritis, and now you’re worried about what that means for the future? Our client Jim came to us and told us “I have arthritis, and I’ve been told that I have to live with it until I need surgery.” Jim was upset by the diagnosis and wanted to know if there were any alternatives, or things that he could do to hopefully avoid painkillers and surgery down the line.
Does that sound like you or someone you know?
The first thing that a lot of people wanted to know about knee arthritis was…did it mean he would eventually need a knee replacement? He started to worry about the things he would have to give up, and if the other knee would face the same outcome. We told Jim what we tell all of our patients…the answer is a resounding NO. Just because you have some pain and arthritis in your knee does NOT mean you’ll eventually need a knee replacement.
One of the things we explained to Jim in our first meeting was that arthritis is most often a temporary situation. Unless there is something systemic occurring in multiple joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is typically just inflammation at one joint. If you break the word down…”Arthro” means joint, and “itis” means inflamed. In other words, an inflamed joint. Have you ever jammed a finger, or woken up with a crick in your neck? That’s arthritis. But it goes away and is a normal part of a healing process.
If you have had a crick in your neck recently too, you might also want to read “Why Is There A Crick In My Neck?”. So, click here to read more about neck specific discomfort!
So why do people get knee replacements for knee arthritis?
Some cases do need surgery when they become very severe. This happens when the issue that is CAUSING the arthritis is left to worsen for a long period of time. That’s right, I said the issue that is CAUSING the arthritis. The knee arthritis is simply the EFFECT of other things going on. Sometimes it’s weakness in the hips, other times, it’s weakness in the ankles. The weakness causes too much movement at the knee, which can then cause the muscles around the knee to tighten up. When these muscles tighten up, they COMPRESS the joint. The compression causes a grinding to occur, which slowly wears down the joint. When this happens, the joint becomes inflamed, and there you have it, knee arthritis! The knee starts trying to repair itself, but it’s in a constant state of inflammation and can’t heal because the issues causing the arthritis are still present.
This is what was happening to Jim. So what did we do? I’ll tell you what we didn’t do. We did NOT simply focus on things that would reduce the inflammation as many doctors do. This results in pain relief but it’s temporary because the CAUSE is still there. We evaluated Jim for hip and ankle strength, and any muscle tightness around the knee. We then identified the ROOT CAUSE of his knee arthritis and put together a treatment plan around addressing that – you can find some of the foundational work in these knee pain tips for daily improvement.
Within a couple of weeks Jim was back in action. He had started hiking, and taking walks with his wife again. He was able to play with his kids, and not have to worry about sitting on the sidelines. Most importantly for him, he no longer had to worry about having a knee replacement, and he understood why. For people like Jim, simply understanding the treatment plan is important. When nothing is explained and a doctor simply says “you have arthritis” it’s frustrating and sometimes frightening. Not in a spooky kind of way, but in a “what will my life look like in 10 years?” kind of way.
Are you familiar with this feeling?
If you are familiar with this feeling and someone has told you that you have knee arthritis and you’re wondering about your options, click the button below and fill out a contact form to speak with our knee arthritis experts. We’ll listen to your story, your goals, and help you to decide if our clinic might be a good fit for you. Just click the button below to get started.