Osteoarthritis of the knee: symptoms and treatment, exercise, medication

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint (also called gonarthrosis) is a lesion of the knee joint, as a result of which the articular cartilage is destroyed, the knee is deformed and the movement of the knee is limited. The article will help you learn about the symptoms and start the necessary treatment in a timely manner.

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint

Specialists divide gonarthrosis into primary and secondary forms:

  1. The cause of the primary form is a congenital joint defect and the period of development of the disease occurs in childhood and adolescence.
  2. The secondary form can develop at any age.
osteoarthritis of the knee

Experts name the main causes of the disease:

  • bad stand;
  • overweight;
  • different types of knee injuries;
  • disorders of mineral metabolism and metabolism;
  • presence of endocrine diseases;
  • increased stress on the knee joints;
  • impaired calcium metabolism due to the intake of hormone-containing drugs;
  • meniscus removal operations;
  • presence of arthritis;
  • weak ligament apparatus;
  • menopause and menopause in women.

Osteoarthritis of the knee joints can be bilateral or unilateral.

Stages of osteoarthritis and their symptoms

Depending on the symptoms and the approach to the disease, specialists divide the disease into 3 stages.

Initial or first stage of osteoarthritis

At this stage there is a slight pain with increased stress on the knee.The initial stage can last from 1 year to several years.To prevent deterioration of the stage, a number of measures must be taken to restore the deformed cartilage, strengthen the ligaments and restore movement in the knee.

At this stage, timely treatment will completely get rid of the pathology. But most patients ignore the symptom in the form of mild pain and therefore do not go to the doctor. Osteoarthritis of the knee is treated by an orthopedist, rheumatologist or surgeon.

Middle or 2nd stage of osteoarthritis

stages of osteoarthritis of the knee

At this stage, the symptoms of the disease appear more pronounced and therefore impossible to ignore. Doctors note that it is in stage 2 that most patients seek medical help. At this stage, an accurate diagnosis can be made. Timely treatment allows you to stop the transition of the disease to the 3rd degree.

Severe symptoms include:

  • knee pain with hypothermia;
  • the presence of a mild crisis;
  • swelling or swelling in the knee area;
  • severe knee pain when climbing stairs or other forms of increased stress;
  • pain and tingling in the calves;
  • Stiffness when bending and unfolding the knee.

Last or third stage of osteoarthritis

At this stage the consequences of the disease are irreversible, it is impossible to stop the development of the pathology. But the treatment will alleviate the patient's condition for some time. Under no circumstances should you ignore the symptoms or self-medicate, as this may lead to a change in gait, walking with a cane or injury.

The main symptoms of stage 3, in addition to the above, are listed by doctors:

  • pathology of the endocrine system (thyroid problems, diabetes);
  • hereditary and age factors.

Diagnostic methods

methods for diagnosing osteoarthritis of the knee

The specialist makes a diagnosis based on the patient's medical history and the results of laboratory and instrumental tests.

Laboratory tests include:

  • complete blood count.With the help of research you can identify the cause of the disease and assess the degree of inflammation.
  • general urinalysisallows you to identify or rule out the autoimmune origin of the disease and assess whether it is the source of renal and urinary pathology.
  • biochemical blood test, which is divided into many others, the indicators of almost all tests are outside the normal range.

Laboratory tests are performed during an exacerbation of the disease, as during remission all indicators are within normal limits.

Instrumental research includes:

  • x-ray.Performed in two projections - rear-front and side. The doctor usually takes a picture of both knees to compare the affected and healthy knees.
  • arthroscopy.This procedure should be understood not only as an examination, but also as a mini operation. The fact is that through a small hole in the knee, the doctor inserts a small LED wire inside and the computer screen displays a complete picture of the internal condition of the knee, the resulting tissue fragments are sent to the laboratory if there is a suspicion of cartilage or malignancy. endoscopically it is possible to correct the shape of the menisci, to remove polyps and chondrophytes. In addition to diagnosing osteoarthritis, other diseases can be performed and examined, as the knee joint is a large organ and allows you to get a complete picture of the condition of the body.
  • Ultrasound(ultrasound).This test method has 2 important advantages over X-rays - it is harmless and helps to see the soft tissues of the joint due to its wide imaging capabilities.
  • CT (computed tomography).The examination is a form of radiography with an improved shape, because during this procedure the doctor takes several pictures and thanks to them a three-dimensional image of the affected organ is created on the computer. This form is used less frequently than others due to time costs and a large amount of radiation.
  • MRI (nuclear magnetic resonance).Unlike the previous method, it is more harmless. Also, MRI allows you to get a better picture of soft tissues compared to CT. But MRI is used as rarely as CT, as its use requires high material costs and cannot be used in patients who have metal objects (pins, crowns) in their body. CT and MRI are contraindicated in people weighing more than 120 kg.
  • knee pain with osteoarthritisscintigraphy.Expensive and radiation-related method. Therefore, it is used in cases where cheaper methods are ineffective. In this study, a substance is injected into the patient's body that reacts to and locates around the diseased organ.
  • tomography.The study is based on heat radiation from the body surface. The affected organ usually manifests itself in the form of foci of fever. The tomograph is a cumbersome instrument and the procedure is expensive, so this study is only performed in large clinics.

Medications to treat and relieve symptoms

Experts note that it is impossible to start treatment without relieving pain and eliminating inflammation.Therefore, doctors prescribe various non-steroidal (ie non-hormonal) drugs. However, they cannot be taken for longer than the prescribed period, as this group of drugs does not cure the disease, but relieves the symptoms and the disease progresses in the meantime.

Ointments for osteoarthritis

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee with symptoms of swelling and pain is rarely done without ointments.

Unlike other forms of drug release, this group has clear advantages:

  • quickly reduces pain and inflammation;
  • ease of use facilitates combination with other treatments such as physiotherapy;
  • has no adverse effect on the liver.

Many years of experience in the treatment of osteoarthritis and the study of positive responses among patients have revealed a number of effective ointments that have a warming vasodilating effect. Contains red pepper extract, bee and snake venom.

Gymnastics for osteoarthritis

gymnastics for osteoarthritis of the knee

Gymnastics is one of the important methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, which should be used in remission after the removal of pain symptoms.

Contributes to:

  • Improving the nutrition of articular cartilage and overall health:
  • pain relief;
  • strengthening the muscles and ligaments of the knee joint;
  • increased joint mobility.

To see a positive effect,should be exercised daily or every other day, increasing the load to 30 minutes per workout.

  1. Warm up. You should walk on your toes or heels for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Pedal an imaginary bike 20-30 times (10-15 times with each foot).
  3. Lying on your stomach, bend and straighten your knees 10-15 times. At each turn, hold your feet in this position for 5 seconds.
  4. Stretch your legs while lying on your back. Raise your leg and bend at the knee. The heel should be parallel to the floor.
  5. Lying on your right side, lift your left leg, pull it to your abdomen, and then stretch it back as far as possible. Turn to the other side and repeat the exercise. Repeat 5-6 times for each leg.

The exercise should be canceled if:

  • abdominal or hip hernia;
  • cardiovascular diseases;
  • infectious diseases;
  • blood diseases;
  • postoperative rehabilitation period.

Rubs and compresses

rubbing and compresses

Various rubs and compresses are widely used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Their significant advantages include the presence of ingredients and the absence of side effects.

  • Garlic.Drizzle 1 vegetable with any vegetable oil (200 ml), cover and leave in a dark and cool place for 7 days. Then wash the product overnight. To remove the specific odor, close the knee with a thick gauze bandage and rinse thoroughly with water in the morning.
  • Egg.Mix vinegar with 1 egg yolk 1: 1 and immediately rub a little in the knee. Apply 3 per week. After rubbing, wrap the knee with something warm.
  • Honey.Mix 100 grams of honey and 3 grams of mummy and immediately rub into the knee. Wrap the knee.
  • Cabbage.Soak a piece of woolen material with vegetable juice and attach to the knee.
  • Oatmeal.Boil a plain porridge of 1-2 tablespoons of flakes in water. Do not cook the flakes for more than 7 minutes! Place the viscous product on a clean cloth and apply to the knee.


Osteoarthritis of the knee joint (symptoms and drug treatment are listed above), according to experts, can be cured with different types of coatings. The most effective are honey and herbs.

Research shows that honeycombs help:

  • restores damaged tissues and intra-articular cartilage;
  • eliminate pain and inflammation;
  • burns excess cholesterol.

It is worth noting that honey is most effective in combination with cinnamon.

As for herbal wraps, the above properties have:

  • willow, oak, birch, aspen bark;
  • roots of valerian, oman, burdock;
  • leaves of hops, birch, nettle;
  • wild rosemary and St. John's wort herbs;
  • chamomile flowers, calendula.

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee with hirudotherapy

hirudotherapy for osteoarthritis

One of the most effective methods for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee joint is hirudotherapy, ie treatment with leeches. It can be used at the first symptoms and should be directed by your doctor and under the supervision of specialists. Before the first procedure you should familiarize yourself with the contraindications.

Do not use leech therapy:

  • children and the elderly;
  • patients suffering from reduced blood clotting, hypotension, severe exhaustion, leukemia, anemia, gastrointestinal erosion, gastric ulcers, digestive problems, cancer, tuberculosis, anemia and haemophilia;
  • women during pregnancy and lactation.

For treatment to be effective, 1-2 procedures should be performed every 5-6 months.Treatment can be performed more or less often - it all depends on the stage of the disease. If after 1-3 sessions the patient feels improvement and has no allergic reactions, then treatment with leeches can continue.

Otherwise, the patient is given a break for 9 months and if the allergy reappears or does not improve, the hirudotherapy sessions are stopped. During treatment, the specialist treats the knee with an odorless agent and then checks the leeches that will be used for fitness.

To do this, leeches are placed in a container of water. If the leeches stick to the walls, then they can be used. The specialist places 2-6 leeches on the patella.

When sucking, leeches release a number of useful enzymes in the human body that will help:

  • restore and strengthen the immune system;
  • restoration of blood circulation and metabolic processes;
  • Eliminate swelling and adhesions.

Hirudotherapy cannot be used as a separate treatment. For greater effectiveness, experts recommend combining it with physiotherapy, physiotherapy exercises and medication.

Taking turpentine and pine baths

taking turpentine and pine baths

Balneotherapy, ie taking various baths with a therapeutic effect, is not the last place to eliminate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.Experts note that there are many different types of therapeutic baths, but turpentine and pine baths have shown particular effectiveness. They can be taken not only in spa resorts, but also at home.

But despite their benefits, they should be discarded:

  • patients with heart disease;
  • in the presence of oncological diseases, tuberculosis, varicose veins, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension,
  • if the patient has suffered a heart attack or stroke;
  • in the presence of skin diseases;
  • for pregnant women.

For a turpentine bath you need to mix 10 grams of baby soap, 0. 75 ml of salicylic acid and pour the mixture with 500 ml of boiling water. While the mixture cools, you need to fill the tub with hot water. When the mixture has cooled to 45 degrees, add turpentine and pour 15-20 ml of the mixture into the bath.

Due to the presence of turpentine, the temperature in the bathroom may seem elevated.Therefore, you should not increase the dose more than 20 ml. Baths should be done daily for 10-14 days, gradually increasing the dose of turpentine mixture to 80 ml in one procedure. After bathing, wash the mixture with warm water and put on warm clothes or lie down under a blanket.

For pine baths you need pine needles or branches. About 25-30 branches need to be broken into small pieces to fit in the pot. Rinse the branches before preparing the broth, float and contaminate, pour water and cook for 5-10 minutes. Strain the prepared broth and pour it into a bath of hot water.

Take a bath for 10-15 minutes.Then dry and put on warm clothes. It is not recommended to engage in physical labor and strain the knees. The course of treatment of a pine bath can include 7-12 procedures that can be done every day or every day. After six months, the course can be repeated. This procedure will prolong the period of remission and stop the development of the disease.

Use of chondroprotectors

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint (symptoms and treatment with folk remedies are listed below) can not be cured without chondroprotectors - a group of drugs that is aimed at restoring cartilage tissue and its nutrition. All drugs in this group are divided into 5 groups. Drugs intended for the treatment of osteoarthritis belong to group 4.

These are based on:

  • glucosamine;
  • chondroitin sulfate;
  • avocado and soybean extracts; hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid;
  • synthesis of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.

Chondroprotectors are prescribed by specialists along with pain medications.But unlike the second, the first should be taken throughout life, because only in this case it is possible to slow the development of osteoarthritis and stop disability. The effect of taking chondroprotectors is visible only after 2-8 days.

The preparations are available in the form of gels, ointments, tablets and injections. The solution is injected into the knee.

Diet: what foods are allowed, dietary rules and approximate diet

diet for osteoarthritis

Excess weight negatively affects the development of osteoarthritis - the disease progresses faster than in patients with normal weight. That is why overweight people are advised to lose those extra pounds. But at the same time it is absolutely impossible to starve and sit on monodiet or diets with dietary restrictions.

Authorized products include:

  • Hormone-free farm meat that can be boiled, roasted, stewed or steamed. If there is no access to meat from the farm, you can buy the usual, but you need to get rid of skins and fats, because there accumulates all the harmful substances that are fed or injected into animals or birds. It is better to limit the consumption of such meat to 1-2 times a week, and the rest of the time there are vegetable or fish dishes.
  • fruits and vegetables that can be baked or stewed to your liking.
  • all types of cereals (except immediate grains).
  • products with pectin: blackcurrant, jelly on fructose;
  • fermented milk products;
  • eggs;
  • wholemeal bread and pasta.

It is important to exclude from the diet:

  • bakery products, pastries and white bread;
  • alcoholic beverages and beer;
  • different types of fast food and snacks;
  • sausage and other ready-made meat products.

In osteoarthritis, 1200 Kcal should be consumed daily.You should eat partially, ie every 2-3 hours in small portions.

Folk remedies

Osteoarthritis of the knee, symptoms and treatment can be easily done with traditional medicine:

  • If osteoarthritis is accompanied by edema, a blue clay compress will help. For it you need to dilute the clay with water to the state of cream and place it on a thick tissue folded 4-6 times and attach it to the joint. Wrap the knee with gauze or another towel so that the compress does not slip. Hold for 2-3 hours and rinse with warm water. The fabric can be washed and reused.
  • Experts recommend giving up natural tea and coffee and replacing them with decoctions and infusions. For example, a decoction of cranberry. For him 2 tsp fruit should pour 1 liter. boiling water and leave for an hour, wrapped in a towel. You should drink 3-4 times a day.
  • Massage ointment will help get rid of pain and inflammation at any stage of the disease. For it you need to mix with 50 grams of Vaseline, 10 grams of chopped hops, sweet clover and St. John's wort. You need to insist the product for 2-3 hours in a dark place. Rub with light massage movements. You can wrap your knee.

How long is the rehabilitation period

It is impossible to say unequivocally how long the rehabilitation of osteoarthritis will last, as the time depends on various factors. For example, the patient's age and lifestyle, the extent and severity of the disease.

In general, the recovery period lasts 1-2 months, during which the patient with the help of specialists:

  • eliminates inflammatory and pain syndromes;
  • learns to exercise and adjust nutrition.

In order for the remission period to last as long as possible, the patient should exercise regularly and see a doctor. Osteoarthritis of the knee joint with the elimination of symptoms and the right approach to treatment will allow you not to leave the usual rhythm of life.