Arthritis is a disease that causes pain and loss of movement of the joints. The word arthritis literally means joint inflammation (arth=joint, ritis=inflammation), and refers to more than 100 different diseases.

One sign of many rheumatic conditions is fatigue. People who have a rheumatic disease should develop a comfortable balance between rest and activity. For example, when experiencing pain or fatigue, it is important to take a break and rest. Too much rest, however, might cause muscles and joints to become stiff.

People with a rheumatic disease such as arthritis can participate in a variety of sports and exercise programs. Physical exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. It also helps with weight reduction and contributes to an improved sense of well-being. Before starting any exercise program, people with arthritis should talk with their doctor.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises help increase muscle strength. Strong muscles help to support the joints, making the joints more stable, and helping a person move more easily and with less pain. The two types of strengthening exercises are isometric and isotonic.

Isometric exercises involve tightening the muscles, without moving the joints. These exercises are especially useful when joint motion is impaired.

Isotonic exercises involve strengthening the muscles by moving the joints.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids (such as prednisone; methylprenisolone, Medrol®) have both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory activity. They can be given orally, intravenously, intramuscularly or can be injected directly into the joint. Corticosteroids are useful in early disease as temporary adjunctive therapy while waiting for DMARDs to exert their antiinflammatory effects.

Corticosteroids are also useful as chronic adjunctive therapy in patients with severe disease that is not well controlled on NSAIDs and DMARDs. The usual dose of predinisone is 5 to 10mg daily. Although prednisone can be started at higher doses (15 to 20mg daily), attempts should be made to taper the dose over a few weeks to less than 10mg daily.

Once started, corticosteroid therapy may be very difficult to discontinue and even at low doses. Some patients are very sensitive to the tapering of prednisone which is generally done slowly over a few weeks.

Many drugs are now used to treat the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, and others), naproxen (Naprosyn, and others) and dicolfenac (Voltaren), have immediate analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects and are relatively safe.

Optional Treatment for Knee Arthritis

Weight Loss: This is the one of the most important remedy , but least commonly performed treatments. If one manages to lose the extra weight , the pressure on the knees will reduce resulting in less discomfort.

Activity Modification: Limiting certain activities may be necessary, and learning new exercise methods may be helpful. Aquatic exercise is an excellent option for patients who have difficulty exercising.

Walking: Walking is one of the most helpful exercises and has many advantages. While walking, the use of a cane or a single crutch in the hand opposite the affected knee will help decrease pressure on the arthritic joint.

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