Osteochondrosis of the knee joint is considered a rather serious disease. Without adequate treatment, it can cause dangerous complications and significantly worsen a person’s quality of life. Therefore, the first symptoms of pathology should force a person to see a doctor.
What is osteochondrosis of the knee joint
For knee osteochondrosis, degenerative-dystrophic disorders are characteristic. The disease often occurs at a young age and has a rather long course . Typically, the pathology is benign and, provided adequate treatment, has a favorable outcome.
The disease begins suddenly and is characterized by the appearance of bone necrosis. This condition is characterized by severe pain that appears after serious exertion.
Subsequently, tissue edema, a local increase in temperature, and redness of the skin may occur. After adequate treatment, the dead tissue dissolves, and deformed scars appear in this place.
There are three forms of knee osteochondrosis:
- Koenig’s disease. This pathology is also called osteochondritis dissecans , which is an inflammation of the cartilage of the joints. As a result of the development of the disease, cartilage tissue exfoliates, and then completely separates from the bones. The progression of the pathology leads to the fact that the cartilage begins to move freely in the joint capsule, and this invariably leads to a loss of mobility. Such a disease can be diagnosed in adolescence and in the elderly. Although both knees are usually affected in children, the condition can be cured fairly quickly. In older people, it is quite difficult to get rid of pathology.
- Disease Osgood-Shlyattera . This form of osteochondrosis is characterized by changes in tuberosity in the area of the tibia. In this case, a painful bump appears on the knee. Usually, this pathology is diagnosed in adolescents who play sports.
- Larsen-Johansson’s disease. In this case, there is ossification of the patella, which is characterized by the appearance of pain, swelling and hydrarthrosis of the joints. This disorder is also most common in adolescents.
It should be borne in mind that the juvenile forms of the disease continue for eight years and disappear after the completion of the growth of bones in the body. Most people by the age of 25 do not have any traces of pathology.
There are such degrees of severity of this pathology:
- the first degree – it is characterized by slight pain in the joint;
- the second degree – the cartilage tissues are destroyed, the muscles of the limb are weakened, there is a feeling of stiffness in the leg;
- third degree – in this case, intense pain in the knee joints is observed, their destruction occurs.
This disease is usually accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Dull pain in the knee that occurs during movement. Discomfort can increase manifold after physical exertion.
- Swelling of the knee joint.
- Pain when feeling the knee.
- Cracking when moving, the appearance of lameness.
- Decreased range of motion.
- Forced position of the leg.
- Dying off of the quadriceps femoris muscle in the event of a prolonged process.
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The reliable reasons for the development of knee osteochondrosis have not yet been studied. However, certain risk factors for the development of this pathology have been established:
- Disruption of vascular function, which leads to insufficient blood supply to the joint.
- Permanent microtraumas that a person receives as a result of active sports.
- Metabolic disease.
- Change in hormone balance.
- Genetic predisposition.
- Separation of part of the bone tissue from the articular surface.
- Impaired bone growth.
Knee osteochondrosis usually occurs in athletes and in people who are systematically faced with heavy physical exertion. However, sometimes this disease is observed in those people who do not belong to any of these categories.
For the therapy of pathology to be effective, it is necessary to conduct an X-ray examination of the affected joints. This procedure is usually done in two projections.
The X-ray will give the doctor the opportunity to consider the narrowing of the joint gap, the violation of the integrity of the tissues, the appearance of pathological bone growth. Also, a reliable diagnostic method is the performance of magnetic resonance imaging.
How to treat
Depending on the form and severity of knee osteochondrosis, conservative and surgical methods of therapy can be used. Therapeutic exercises and traditional medicine can serve as an addition to the main treatment.
Drug therapy is suitable for children who have open growth zones and fixed bone and cartilaginous areas. Its purpose is considered to be the healing of the defect before the epiphyseal growth zone closes . Also, conservative methods of therapy can be effective even if no more than a year has passed since the closure.
Many experts argue that limb immobilization is not required in this case. A person needs to maintain his usual daily activity. Crutches can be used to relieve stress on the affected joint. Usually they are used for 3-6 weeks until pain is eliminated. Physiotherapy and physiotherapy exercises are also shown as methods of therapy.
For severe pain, analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs can be used . The most effective drugs include ointment Voltaren , ointment diclofenac, nize . To stimulate the restoration of cartilage, chondroprotectors are prescribed . Means such as Elbona and Structum can be used .
The operation is performed when conservative methods of therapy are ineffective. Also, indications for surgical treatment are the progression of pathology and the closure of growth zones. The operation is performed in order to fix the bone-cartilaginous fragment – this is what allows you to maintain the mobility of the joint.
If the patient does not have an inflammatory process, and the fragment remains immobile, arthroscopic drilling of the disturbed areas is performed . In 80-90% of cases of diseases that are accompanied by open growth zones, the condition can be improved.
If the fragment is semi-movable , it is fixed. For this, cannulated screws of the Herbert type can be used . After such an intervention, serious complications often arise.
In case of large fragments, in addition to the indicated treatment methods, autotransplantation of bone-cartilaginous rods is used. Implantation of own chondrocytes and mosaic arthroplasty can also be used .
Such an operation is fraught with the development of pathological disorders in the graft. In addition, the conformity of the shape of the articular surfaces is often violated. The indisputable advantage of this method is the firm fixation of the autologous material. Such an operation gives the desired results in about 90% of cases in young patients.
Special gymnastics can be done exclusively during remission of pathology, when pain and inflammation do not occur in the joint. If you perform exercises with an exacerbation of pathology, you can cause severe pain and aggravate the condition of the knee joints.
Before starting to perform gymnastics, you need to consult your doctor. All exercises must be selected individually, depending on the form and severity of the pathology. It is very important to avoid increased stress on the joints, otherwise you can provoke an exacerbation of the disease.
The correct gymnastics complex should be based on static exercises. Thanks to this, it is possible to provide the desired load and avoid wear and tear of the affected joints.
Folk remedies can be used as auxiliary methods of therapy for knee osteochondrosis.
Propolis tincture and bee venom are very useful. Apitherapy involves the application of bee stings to the affected areas of the joints. Thanks to this, it is possible to provide an acupuncture effect on the damaged areas, which is enhanced by the introduction of bee venom.
Apitoxin has pronounced antispasmodic and warming properties. And thanks to the anti-inflammatory effect, it is possible to eliminate inflammation. To increase the effectiveness of the procedure, apitherapy can be supplemented with the use of other beekeeping products.
To do this, propolis plates can be applied to the affected areas, which are fixed with an adhesive plaster and left for several days.
Compresses with propolis tincture are no less effective. This beekeeping product has a pronounced anesthetic effect, which allows you to quickly eliminate pain. Moreover, all beekeeping products can lead to allergies. Therefore, before using them, you should consult your doctor.