To answer your question, your doctor needs to determine what type of arthritis you have in your knees. If this is due to the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, then treatment options include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, topical therapies, intra-articular injections, and physical therapy. If this is due to an inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis) then treatment options include immunosuppressive agents such as methotrexate or biologics. Ultimately, if there is severe destruction, pain, and disability from either type of arthritis, knee replacement surgery can be an option.
General Arthritis Q & A
There is a group of diseases called the ‘Spondyloarthropathies’ encompasses several different diseases which include: ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy, and inflammatory bowel disease-associated arthritis. Although each of these diseases is unique and has unique characteristics, all of them can involve inflammation of the axial skeleton (spine and sacroiliac joints) which is unique from RA.
Calcium and vitamin D are important nutritional supplements for patients with arthritis, particularly women. Some medications, namely corticosteroids, used to treat arthritis can be detrimental to your bone health in the long run and calcium and vitamin D can help combat those side effects. We usually recommend calcium intake be between 1000-1500mg per day (in divided dosed) and vitamin D be between 800-1000 units daily. However, your requirements may be more or less based on your inflammatory disease, medication regimen, and tolerability of the supplements so be sure to check with your doctor about exactly how much is right for you.
The term spondyloarthritis refers to a group of inflammatory arthritis conditions that can as part of their disease courses involve the spinal joints, but this does not always occur. Some of the forms of arthritis that are within this category include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and the arthritis related to inflamatory bowel diseases. Many other patients have what we refer to as “undifferentiated”” spondyloarthritis. One of the other characteristics of these illnesses is the frequent involvement of only one or two joints
Yes. Both vaccines are safe with your current medications. The flu shot and pneumonia vaccine are also safe.
Sjogren’s syndrome is a common problem in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and can also occur in people without RA. In this condition patients complain of dryness in the eyes and in the mouth and other areas. These symtoms can be very severe. The condition is caused by autoimunne mediated inflammation and fibrosis of the salivary glands and tear producing glands. Treatment of Sjogren’s is initially symptomatic using artificial tears, sometimes immunomodulatory eye drops such as Restasis, and plugs to increase the quantity of tears, as well as careful dental hygiene and increased fluid intake. There are some medications that increase the flow of saliva and tears but these medications may cause frequent bowel movements and sweating in some people. The response of Sjogren’s symptoms in RA to DMARDS is variable. While in some patients, the symptoms improve with RA treatment, others do not. It is not easily possible to predict which patients will or will not respond. There are some clinical studies underway with immunomodulatory medications specifically for Sjogren’s syndrome as well.