Arthritis describes over 100 conditions that cause inflammation in your joints. When you have inflammation in the knee, it’s most likely osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis develops slowly, occurring when the cartilage in your knee, which cushions the space between your bones, degrades and bone rubs against bone.
Usually, osteoarthritis is a result of aging and wear-and-tear, but it can occur at any age. At Philip Regala, MD, in Naples, Florida, we can evaluate your arthritis and help you find relief. One of the first strategies in healing, however, is figuring out what factors are making your knee pain and dysfunction worse. Read on to learn some of the most common ones.
When your knees hurt, you may be tempted to avoid activity because it seems to aggravate pain. However, appropriate movement and activity actually boosts circulation, strengthens surrounding muscles to take pressure off the joints, and helps maintain range of motion. Dr. Regala works with you to develop a physical activity plan that fits your preferences, lifestyle, and condition.
Pursuing aggravating activities
Of course, no one likes change, especially when it means modifying activities you love. But while exercise can be good for arthritis pain, continually doing high-impact activities like running, soccer, or tennis can make your knees hurt worse.
Dr. Regala may recommend taking up swimming or cycling, activities that put less stress on your knee. Stretching is also beneficial.
Carrying a few extra pounds
If you’re overweight or obese, you’re putting extra pressure on your inflamed knee joint. Every pound of weight you gain adds 5 times the amount of pressure on your knees. We can help you develop a strategy to slim down — even by 5%-10% of your body weight — to feel a noticeable difference in your pain levels.
Skipping physical therapy
We can help set you up with a physical therapist who can show you exercises and help you move through them properly. But you have to do the exercises on your own as well as at your scheduled appointments. Consistency is key.
Eating an inflammation-promoting diet
Foods such as refined flour, white sugar, fried foods, and saturated fats make your body more inflamed. This aggravates osteoarthritis and can contribute to your knee pain. Plus, such a diet is likely high in calories and contributes to being overweight or obese.
At Philip Regala, MD, we can help you make smarter food choices that discourage inflammation and can ease pain at your knee joints. Healthy, unprocessed options that include lean protein, vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and unsaturated fats found in nuts and avocados are good choices.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type of arthritis, doctors also recommend a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
If you suffer from arthritis of the knee, Dr. Regala can help you figure out what lifestyle changes can ease your pain, and he can offer other conservative treatments. But if you find pain persists and starts to truly interfere with your quality of life, Dr. Regala is also an experienced surgeon who can repair or replace an arthritic knee.
Call our office or schedule a consultation using this website to learn about your knee treatment options today.