One can often hear that a damaged knee joint will never be fully functional again. There is a lot of truth in this – after all, this largest joint in the body is also the second in terms of exposure to loads (immediately after the ankle joint). The knees work full-time on a daily basis, so that people can walk, run, dance, climb stairs, jump, sit… They can not tolerate both intense sports, as well as idle sitting or working in an unergomeric position. In addition, they often have to bear excessive weight resulting from overweight, obesity or pregnancy. They also suffer from injuries and illnesses, such as knee joint inflammation. What is this ailment and can it be completely cured?
The simplest cause of inflammation in the knee joint is the overload caused by, for example, lifting weights, working in an uncomfortable position, training errors or excessive exertion. Professional dancers and professional athletes are particularly exposed to such injuries. However, knee arthritis can also happen to children and seniors – old age is even conducive to disease. Problems with knees in children may result from congenital defects of the lower limbs, especially deformity or valgus knees. In many patients, another disease is responsible for the inflammation in this part of the body, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or arthrosis. Knee inflammation also occurs in people undergoing arthroscopy or other knee surgery. In addition, the disorder more often affects women and obese people.
Inflammation of the knees may include various joint structures – synovial membrane, bursa, and joint capsule. The so-called “knee joint” may also be responsible for ailments in the knee joint. Hoffy body (fatty flesh body) that tends to swell and outgrow. Regardless of the exact location of the inflammatory foci, the patient experiences knee pain, which may be intensified by movement and pressure (bursitis) or leg straightening (Hoffy’s body inflammation). In addition to pain, there are typical symptoms of inflammation, i.e. swollen knee joint, redness and skin warming at the joint.
Inflammation of the bursa or synovium is additionally accompanied by exudate to the joint cavities, which requires decompression. In turn, Hoff’s body inflammation can be recognized by bilateral prominence of the skin around the patella. The characteristic “creak” coming out when bending the knee may be evidence of patellofemoral joint inflammation. Pain in this condition usually disappears after getting up and walking a few steps. Because knee joint inflammation often leads to knee stiffness, the patient also has problems with normal legs movement. Knee inflammation in children is often manifested not by pain, but just by difficult walking – a toddler may become limp and express reluctance towards physical activity. In children, ailments resulting from joint stiffness can be observed especially in the morning and after prolonged rest.
Persons suffering from the above-mentioned symptoms should primarily relieve the sick knee – rest with raised leg is recommended (this position prevents the accumulation of fluid in the joint). It is also worth to apply cold compresses (3 x per day for 15-20 minutes), which reduce swelling and relieve pain. Inflammation of the knee joint also requires pharmacological treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (oral or as an ointment / gel) and steroids injected directly into the joint. If the disease is accompanied by exudate, the physician must remove the fluid accumulated in the joint cavity and end the treatment with a pressure dressing. Because knee arthritis impedes normal movement and can lead to permanent impairment of performance, the patient may be referred for physiotherapy and kinesiotaping. To minimize the risk of aggravation, your doctor may recommend wearing a special stabilizer or orthotic. If the treatment of the knee is not effective, the condition may require surgery (arthroscopy) to cut out the affected part (eg bursa, synovium, Hoff’s body). Patients threatened with disability are also proposed to implant a knee joint prosthesis.