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Knee Pain: It Could Be Early Signs of Arthritis

By Stephen R. Farris

As we grow older, we're more likely to lose some of our range of motion, muscle strength and feel more pain in our joints. Particularly in the area of the knees, shoulders and back.

While those aches and pains could be due to overuse, more so with knees, in most cases it could also be the onset of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis (occurring in the knees), rheumatoid arthritis -- inflammatory condition that has no age limitations -- and/or post-traumatic arthritis, usually due to a previous injury.

At this point, you might be asking yourself what the signs are. There are several to watch for.

Creeping Pain

What I mean by creeping pain is the slow onset of arthritis over a period of time, and eventually hangs on. You might feel fine some days, but certain changes in weather conditions -- according to some folks -- could make your joints ache a little more than usual. You might feel pain after sitting or lying down for a while when attempting to sit up or stand up. These are early signs that you could be developing an arthritic condition.

Swelling and Tenderness

Knees are tricky. When pain strikes them it could produce swelling or tenderness. This could be from bone spurs or excess fluid in which over-the-counter medicine becomes an ineffective treatment option.

Knee Lock

Knee lock, or buckling, occurs when the muscles around the knee become weak, causing unsteadiness. It can happen when you least expect it, such as taking a sudden step to the side, standing up, or doing something as simple as walking. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, you'll definitely take notice.

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Normally, you shouldn't hear noises like crackling and popping when you stand up or when you walk. If you do, it's probably because your knee has lost some cartilage that allows for smooth movement. The one sound you don't want to hear is a snap.  

Decreased Range of Motion

If you watch sports, notice how athletes seem to be able to stop on a dime and switch directions to their left or right. Sometimes they leave you wondering how they can do that. But over time, most all of us lose a certain amount of that range of motion. It becomes difficult just to move side-to-side, or even take steps forward or backwards. Stairs become a nightmare. It can also get to the point that we end up using a cane or walker. As arthritis worsens, it can wear down the cartilage in your knee, making it difficult to walk.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in North Little Rock, Ark.

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