Osteoarthritis can be categorised into 5 stages which indicates the advancement of the disease in our body. Stage 0 is a normal healthy knee and the last Stage 4 shows symptoms of severe pain, extensive cartilage deterioration that hampers the joint movement significantly, this is the most advanced stage in osteoarthritis.
What Is Stage 0 of Osteoarthritis?
This stage in osteoarthritis is called Normal as there is no symptom visible of the disease or pain in the joints.
What Treatment Would Be Recommended for Stage 0 of Osteoarthritis?
No treatment is recommended in this stage.
What Is Stage 1 of Osteoarthritis?
In this stage when seen through an X-ray very minor bone spur growth is visible. Bone spurs are bony growths that spread in the joint. A person will mostly not have any pain or discomfort as it is very minor and does not effect the working of the joint.
What Treatment Would Be Recommended for Stage 1 of Osteoarthritis?
No outward symptoms present, so doctors will not suggest any osteoarthritis treatment. However, if the doctor sees a risk because of genetics or your health, you may be recommended to start some physical exercises and supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin to relieve any minor symptoms and slow the progress of osteoarthritis. At this stage GLME is also very helpful as it could stop the damage in the joint and not let the disease progress. Long term use of this is even known to help the cartilage and joint to resume its normal functions without any signs of the disease.
What Is Stage 2 of Osteoarthritis?
This is the mild stage in osteoarthritis which shows a lot of bone spur development in the joints but the cartilage is still healthy with no sign of damage. Synovial fluid is present in adequate levels for normal joint movement. Normally at this phase people start experiencing symptoms like pain after walking, running, stiffness in joints when not used for a long time or tenderness while kneeling and bending.
What Treatment Would Be Recommended for Stage 2 of Osteoarthritis?
If doctors detect the disease at this juncture you may be able to stop the advancement of Osteoarthritis. There are many therapies that help with the pain and discomfort and none of them require you to take medicines. If you are overweight, then diet and exercises will help as losing weight removes the extra pressure on the joints and gives relief. Low impact aerobics strengthens the muscles around the joint, increasing stability and prevents any further joint damage. Never put extra pressure on your joints avoid kneeling, jumping and squatting. Braces, wraps, shoe inserts help relieve some pressure on the joints. Some people might need medicines for mild pain which are mostly used along with exercise therapies like NSAIDs, acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain relief. Exercises, weight loss and keeping stress away from the joints will always help in any stage of osteoarthritis. Long term use of medicines may cause some health problems like NSAIDs cause stomach ulcers, cardiovascular problems, kidney and liver damage. Acetaminophen causes liver damage. GLME is very effective at this stage as it gives relief from pain and even restores the damaged tissue and joint to an extent. Long term use of this is even known to help the cartilage and joint to resume its normal functions without any signs of the disease.
What Is Stage 3 of Osteoarthritis?
This is called as moderate osteoarthritis. Cartilage attached to the bones show conspicuous damage and the area around the bones begins to narrow. People experience pain while walking, running, bending and kneeling, stiff joints when you are in one position for a long time and joint swelling after long periods of activity.
What Treatment Would Be Recommended for Stage 3 of Osteoarthritis?
If other therapies besides medicines do not give relief then you may be suggested to take cortisone injections. These are steroids which are naturally produced in our body and help relieve the pain in the impacted joint. The injections work in the same way by giving relief from the pain caused by osteoarthritis. Effects of cortisone injection take nearly two months to disappear from our body. Long term use of cortisone steroid can aggravate the joint causing damage to the cartilage. If NSAIDs and acetaminophen are not effective for pain relief anymore then prescription medication like codeine and oxycodone can help with the treatment of moderate to severe pain that occurs in stage 3 of osteoarthritis. Conservative treatments for osteoarthritis like physical therapy, weight loss, use of NSAIDs and analgesics are not effective anymore then you can try Viscosupplementation. These are intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid. A typical treatment requires one to five injections given one week apart. Even single dose injections are available. Results of viscosupplementation injections are not immediate as they take several weeks for the full effect to be felt. Relief from this medication lasts for a few months. Everyone does not respond to viscosupplementation. GLME is very effective at this stage as it gives relief from pain and even restores the damaged tissue and joint to an extent. Long term use of this is even known to help the cartilage and joint to resume its normal functions without any signs of the disease.
What Is Stage 4 of Osteoarthritis?
This is considered as the most severe stage of osteoarthritis as there is great pain while walking or any movement of the joint. This is due to a major shrinkage in joint space between bones, cartilage is almost completely gone leaving the joint stiff and immobile, the synovial fluid present in the joint between the bones to prevent any friction among the bones in the joint is nearly gone.
What Treatment Is Recommended for Stage 4 of Osteoarthritis?
Osteotomy – bone realignment surgery where the doctor cuts the bone above and below the knee to shorten, lengthen or change the alignment. This is an alternative for cases with severe osteoarthritis as surgery shifts the body weight away from the joint that is severely damaged. This operation is usually done on younger patients. The last option is total knee replacement – arthoplasty for patients suffering from severe osteoarthritis pain. The doctor removes the damaged joint totally and replaces it with a plastic or metal device. The side effects include infections and blood clots. Recovery takes several weeks or months and requires extensive physical and occupational therapy. GLME is very effective at this stage as it gives relief from pain and even restores some motion in the joint, helps to rebuild the damaged tissue and joint to an extent. Long term use of this is even known to help the cartilage and joint to resume its functions to some extent. The main possibility in this disease is that this may not be the end to osteoarthritis pain, you may require more surgery in other joints or even a knee replacement again depending on your lifetime.