Arthritis FAQs

What is arthritis?

Arthritis literally means inflammation inside the joint. It is a term usually used for degenerative or aging process of the joint which lead to loss of the cartilage lining of the joints. There are other rare forms of arthritis, which are associated with certain systemic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, SLE or lupus, psoriasis, and many other inflammatory arthritis. The infective infection of the joint is also known as infective arthritis or septic arthritis. Occasionally age-related arthritis can be accelerated due to trauma or accident.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Arthritis usually presents with pain, swelling, grinding sensation on movement, hearing of crepitus, diminishing of range of movement, and stiffness. It may be associated with fluid in the joint also. This my lead to worsening quality of life. Use of stairs getting in and out of chair or bed are especially difficult. Pain and swelling are also worsened with prolonged activity like walking or standing.

What is the most common type of arthritis?

The most common type of arthritis is the one caused by aging. It is called degenerative arthritis or Primary Osteoarthritis. It causes slow and gradual roughening or damage to the cartilage. Other forms of arthritis are called secondary arthritis and are related to trauma, systemic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, SLE or lupus, psoriasis, and other forms of inflammatory arthritis etc. Secondary arthritis causes rapid deterioration of cartilage and progressively worsening symptoms.

What are the risk factors for arthritis?

The risk factor for arthritis includes gender, weight, age, family history, systemic diseases like SLE or lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and other autoimmune disorders, smoking, comorbidities like diabetes mellitus.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of arthritis is made clinically by history and examination of the patient. Radiological examination in the form of x-rays can be helpful, especially in advanced cases of arthritis. In certain cases of arthritis with suspicion to other diseases, further investigations can be done to rule out other form of arthritis. Occasionally, advanced radiological imaging like MRI may be needed to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other pathologies.

Why do my joints make popping and clicking sounds? Does that mean I have arthritis?

Popping and cracking sounds from the joint may be a normal phenomenon, especially in younger age group. If they are associated with pain, with or without swelling, then there may be a pathological reason inside the joint that cause these sounds. They can be caused by soft tissue inside the joint called plica, rubbing of the cartilages against each other called the meniscus or due to a meniscal tear. Imaging techniques like x-rays and MRI can help rule out such diseases.

Does the weather have impact on joint pain severity?

Multiple studies have been done in the past but have not conclude that weather does affect joint pain severity. Though, recently a study did find that the change in pressure levels do affect the joint pain, but a change in pressure effects are not easily measurable to common population. It is a change in weather, that is associated with the pressure change that causes difference in joint pain severity.

Why does my knee hurts when it rains?

Though it feels that the joint pains are usually related to change in whether, especially rain. But recent findings have found that they are more due to change in pressure, rather than humidity or temperature. But, it is difficult to measure pressure and the change in pressure is more related to the rain.

How does weight affect arthritis?

Increased weight means increased stresses on the joints, especially the lower extremities: the hip, the knee and the ankle joint. Loss of few pounds of weight can have tremendous effects in reducing the symptoms of arthritis and improving the quality of life.

How much weight should I lose to reduce arthritis pain?

A desirable body mass index (BMI) of a patient should be around 25. Any weight over 25-30 BMI should be lost to help good relief in arthritis symptoms. Even a loss of 10-20 pounds can cause improvement in symptoms of arthritis.

What are the best ways to get in and out of the car?

We should try to minimize the twisting forces on the knee joint while getting in and outside the car. Person can first sit on the seat and then get their legs inside by turning the whole torso. The same should be getting done when getting out of the car.

When should a person with arthritis ask for help?

If the patient has pain in their joint which persist for a few days at a time or is recurrent, it may be arthritis. They should initially treat it with short period of rest and anti-inflammatory medications, ice or heat, whichever is preferable, and a possible use of compression sleeves. If the pain is not improved or associated with other symptoms like swelling, locking or giving way then they should seek medical attention to know more about it. If they are associated with fever, or redness than urgent medical attention is warranted.

How can I make my knee pain go away?

A knee pain can be usually treated with over the counter anti-inflammatory medication, usually. If the pain is not improved with these medications, rest, elevation, and use of ice or heat, then they should seek medical attention to rule out other pathologies. Sometimes, a cortisone injection in the knee may help decreasing the pain. The patient may also be sent for physical therapy to strengthen the muscles. If all the conservative treatment are not able to provide pain relief, then advanced imaging may be needed to find out the cause of pain that can be treated with minimal intervention.

Is walking good for arthritis in the knee?

Walking is a good exercise for arthritis of the knee, as it helps strengthen the muscles, as well improve the overall health. Walking should be practiced with good cushioned shoes and on a firm surface. Fast walking if tolerable is also a good exercise.

What is the best drug for arthritis?

There are multiple drugs used to treat arthritis including anti-inflammatory medications which may range from over the counter medications like Advil or Aleve to prescription medications, cortisone shots, oral corticosteroids, some disease modifying drugs especially in the case of inflammatory and autoimmune arthritis. There are medications in the market like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are found to be equivocal in the treatment of arthritis and can be tried as over the counter drugs. Patient can also get gel (viscosupplementation) injections in the knee joint to help relief the pain.

What are the early signs of arthritis?

Early signs of arthritis include pain, feel of grinding sensation, crepitus, and stiffness, especially at the extremes of range of motion. Patient may have recurrent episodes of acute pain which may remit to complete normalcy. Overtime these episodes start occurring more frequently and in worsening severity. Use of stairs getting in and out of chair or bed are especially difficult during an acute episode. Pain and swelling are also worsened with prolonged activity like walking or standing.

What is the best exercise, especially for bad knees?

Patients with bad knees are advised to strengthen their muscles of thigh especially the quadriceps and the hamstrings but avoid high impact exercises as there is risk it poses to the knee. The good exercises include walking, biking, ellipticals, rowing, swimming, and various forms of stretching and strengthening exercises like yoga and pilates.

How do you get rid of water in the knee?

Water in the knee is formed as a reaction to the inflammation inside the knee. It can be resolved by reducing the inflammation using anti-inflammatory medications or disease modifying medications, especially in the case of inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis. The water can also be removed by putting a needle into the knee joint under sterile conditions and aspirating it.

Usually cortisone shot is given at the same time, which may help in decreasing the inflammation and preventing the recurrence of formation of more fluid inside the knee joint. Compression of the knee by use of sleeves can also be helpful in reducing the fluid in the knee as well as preventing the reformation of the extra joint fluid. Ice and elevation also help in decreasing the swelling in and around the knee.

How do you prevent arthritis in your knee?

An arthritis in the knee can be prevented by keeping fit, weight control, avoiding smoking, and keeping yourself active. Regular exercises of the body, in the form of stretching and strengthening have been found to prevent as well as delay worsening of arthritis in the knee joint.

Can arthritis ever go away?

Arthritis causing damage to the articular cartilage, is irreversible process because the body cannot regenerate the original cartilage. The cartilage that is formed in the repair process is not of the same quality as the native cartilage. But taking steps for prevention or treatment of the arthritis help to decrease the speed of breakdown of the cartilage.

Why do my knee burn?

Injury to the cartilage or the meniscus can ocassionally present with burning sensation around the knee. It can occasionally be a symptom of nerve pain, and not from the arthritis. The patient may be having spine problem or systemic diseases like diabetes, which may cause nerve pain.

What is better for the knee pain, heat or cold?

Though acute onset knee pain should be treated with cold or ice, and longstanding pain usually treated with heat, it is more of patient’s preference as to what makes them feel better and should be used accordingly.

Can you damage your knees by kneeling?

Kneeling causes an extreme of range of motion of the knee and causes increased joint pressures, especially on the knee cap. Excessive kneeling can be damaging to the cartilage as well as irritating to the knee joint and cause damage and causing pain and swelling of the knee joint.

Is it bad to sit cross-legged?

Sitting in cross-legged position for long period may cause stretching of ligaments and muscles, especially on the outer side and compression on the inner side of the knee along with twisting forces which may be detrimental to the knee joint.

What exercise does relieve arthritis symptoms?

Exercises of the muscles around the knee and the hip joint, especially strengthening and stretching exercises of quadriceps and hamstrings help in relieving of knee symptoms like pain and swelling as well as increases circulation.

Which muscles are found in the front of the thigh?

Quadriceps which is the largest muscle found in the body is found in the front of the thigh. It is made of four parts, Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius.

How is arthritis treated?

Arthritis usually caused by aging or degeneration of the joint cartilage is initially treated with anti-inflammatory medications along with physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles as well as maintain the mobility of the joint. Other supplements for arthritis like over the counter glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate can also be tried at the same time.

If the patient is not better with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, then the physician may use cortisone injection to give pain relief as well as decrease the swelling. There are certain minimal invasive surgical procedures that can be done in cases the arthritis to treat and prevent complications of arthritis. If the arthritis is advanced and is bone-on-bone, then joint replacement may be the only treatment for arthritis.

Is exercise good for people who have arthritis?

Exercise is good for everyone, especially those with arthritis, because it keeps muscles strong as well as maintain the mobility of the joint. It also helps controlling the weight as well as controlling systemic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, which are all contributory to the comorbidity of arthritis.

What should I do if I have pain when I exercise?

If the exercise causes unbearable pain, then that specific exercise should not be done, but if the exercise is followed by a soreness, that may be due to the use and strengthening of the muscle. The soreness can be relieved with use of ice and elevation and occasional anti-inflammatory medications. This soreness usually goes off on regular exercises as the muscles get acclimatized to the strengthening process.

How does being overweight affect arthritis?

Being overweight means increased stresses to the bones and the joints and therefore accelerated degeneration of the cartilage. At the same time, being overweight also induces the risk of having systemic diseases like diabetes, which have detrimental effects on arthritis also. Loss of weight, maybe even 10 to 20 pounds, can have significant effect in decreasing the pain from hip/knee arthritis.

How does it feel like to have arthritis in the hip?

Hip arthritis usually presents with pain in the hip along with stiffness and restriction of range of motion, especially deep flexions, like doing squatting or doing child’s pose in yoga. Patients usually have stiffness in the morning. Some patients in advanced cases may start to limp or waddle.

What are the symptoms of bursitis in the hip?

Bursitis of the hip usually involves the greater trochanteric bursa or the trochanteric bursa in which the pain is on the outer side of the hip. Patient is not able to lie on that side of the hip and there’s pain with movement. The patient can also feel pain on pressing on the outer side of the hip.

Where is the hip bursitis pain located?

Hip bursitis pain is located on the outer side of the hip. This is in comparison to the pain of hip arthritis, which is present along the front mostly on the front or on the back of the hip.

Where is the pain for hip arthritis?

Pain for hip arthritis is usually present along the front of the hip or uncommonly along the back of the hip. It can rarely be present on the outer aspect of the hip.

Is walking good for arthritis of the hip?

Walking is a good exercise for patients with arthritis of the hip as it helps maintain the range of motion as well as maintain the muscles of the hip and the knee. It also helps control weight as well as control systemic disease like diabetes and hypertension, which can be contributory to the pathology of arthritis of the hip.

How do they test for hip bursitis?

The physicians usually do a physical examination with a special test to find out if the patient has hip arthritis or bursitis. Then they also do x-rays of the hip to rule out hip arthritis. In rare cases, an MRI may be needed to confirm the diagnosis of hip arthritis or bursitis.

What medicine is good for hip pain?

If the patient has hip pain, initially they should try over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Aleve and Advil. If the patient is not improved with the over-the-counter medications, then they should see a physician for a proper diagnosis and management of hip pain. They may need to use prescription medications as well as cortisone injection or oral cortisone for pain relief.

Can arthritis of the hip cause low back pain?

Arthritis of hip can be an uncommon cause of low back pain, especially on the same side of the back. Vice versa, low back arthritis can also be a cause of hip pain, and therefore a proper examination along with radiological findings of the patient is helpful to reveal the exact cause of the pain.

Why does my knee hurt with hip arthritis?

The nerve supply to the hip and knee are similar in some aspect, and therefore patients with hip arthritis can occasionally have pain referred to the knee joint and vice versa.

Is heat good for hip pain?

Ice is usually used for acute onset pain, especially associated with injury. In most of the other cases, heat is a good modality for pain relief. Occasionally, patients may have preference towards heat or ice, and they should use the modality which helps them best.

These questions have been personally answered by:

I am Vedant Vaksha, Fellowship trained Spine, Sports and Arthroscopic Surgeon at Complete Orthopedics. I take care of patients with ailments of the neck, back, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle. I personally approve this content and have written most of it myself.

Please take a look at my profile page and don't hesitate to come in and talk.

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Based on 107 reviews
Dr. Nakul Karkare is awesome! And patriotic! Thank you, Dr. Karkare for displaying the American Flag in your waiting room, honoring and mourning our military personnel, this Memorial Day, who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
00:52 30 May 23
Excellent and skilled orthopedic practice specializing in joint replacements. Dr Karkare was trained at the Hospital for Special Surgery and has excellent results, as do his associates!! Would gladly refer family members to the practice!!
00:24 30 May 23
I had such a wonderful experience with Complete Orthopedics in Stony Brook. Not only did Dr. Kuo fix my broken wrist with such kindness and care, but the office staff, including Billing, Reception and the X-Ray Technician, was always so helpful, going out of their way to ensure that each patient felt welcome, answering any questions with a smile, and ensuring any issues with insurance/billing were handled with the utmost professionalism. I highly recommend their practice!
Victoria DeMatteo
19:49 10 May 23
I'm very happy St. Catherine's sent me to this office for treatment after I broke my collar bone! Unfortunately the break was too severe to repair on its own and I had to have it rebuilt a week after the injury. Dr. Vaksha did a great job fixing it. I'm three months out, and I have full use of the arm and shoulder. The whole office staff is very professional, accommodating, and welcoming. I hope to not need orthopedic services again, but Dr. Vaksha will be my number one choice if I or anyone in family suffers such am injury.
Tina Rivera
20:42 08 May 23
No one likes going to the doctor. But these people make it painless. I go for knees, hips and shoulders. At almost 70 Complete Orthopedics keeps my active life style running smoothly. Whether chasing my Grandson and even surfing again, I highly recommend them!!
Thomas Slavin
15:02 02 Mar 23
Dr. Kuo knowledgeable and competent surgeon- very good experience and more importantly great result.
Joseph McCoy
21:23 25 Feb 23
Dr Vaksha was so kind and helpful. He took extra time with us and explained things so thoroughly. Highly recommend. Office very clean.
Susan Bosinius
20:20 19 Feb 23
Dr Vaksha, is a great doctor very professional knows what he talking about. Treat patient with upmost respect. Thank You
Troy Spencer
16:46 19 Jan 23
Dr. Karkare is an amazing doctor, very caring and attentive, the girl at the front desk is very kind and helpful. .elizabeth .thank you so much .
blanca ventura
21:32 26 Oct 22
Been going to this place before my accident and after I had my knee surgery. So happy how I been treated and how well I am getting. Thank you all and specially Dr. VAKSHA for everything and getting back on track.
Ita Opico
19:01 25 Oct 22
Love this place From the minute I called I was treated kindly. When I arrived The Dr saw me right away he was compassionate and ordered the appropriate tests for me. I came back in for my follow up and had the same great experience.
Christine Rostock
21:28 23 May 22
Dr Vaksha and Dr karkare are 2 of the best orthopedic doctors around my wife Susan had a very serious broken ankle in March of 2019 she didn't think she was going to walk again Dr vaksha did an excellent surgery on her ankle he said it was his toughest he ever did he put a lot of hardware in her ankle and told her she would be alright she made remarkable recovery thanks to his surgery as of now she regained 100 percent use of her ankle she would highly recommend him to anyone. My own experience with Dr karkare has been wonderful he takes his time with you listens to what you have to say and prescribes various treatments and is very caring I would highly recommend him to anyone I would give both doctors a 10 plus rating we are very happy with them the best.
Harry Jones
23:31 19 May 22
Complete orthopedics is a wonderful place to go when you hurt or injured a great staff and wonderful doctors very knowledgeable and helpful I would recommend this place to all of my family and friends that is in me of orthopedic care I give them 10 thumbs up
Wayne Pemberton
17:39 18 May 22
The staff is very professional and helpful. Dr. Vaksha is excellent. He takes time to listen and offer suggestions to help you get better. I’m very thankful and happy to be a patient here at Complete Orthopedics.
Phoenix Rising
19:54 16 May 22
Dr.Karkare is the best. He listens to everything and explains everything I recommend him to everyone. I am so happy he is my doctor.
Myrna James
00:48 13 May 22
Dr.Kuo is amazing very attentive,caring,and passionate and staff is awsome too.Thank you for everything Dr.kuo.
Erick Murillo
23:17 12 May 22
I was in a car accident November 1 I was referred to Dr. Vaksha For shoulder surgery . I he was amazing he made me feel very comfortable and explained everything that was going to happen from surgery all the way through my physical therapy highly recommend Dr. Vaksha
Yolanda Ojeda
19:37 09 May 22
My appointment with Dr. Vaksha was amazing. Dr. Vaksha was very thorough and kind. I would refer this office to anyone who needs a great orthopedic doctor.
John Senechal
19:54 05 May 22
Scheduling my appointment was quick and easy. The staff was super friendly and down to earth. I was seen on time. The appropriate test, “x-rays” were taken before the conversation with doctor, something I really liked, test for analysis and conversation was done upfront. Dr. V had a great personality and was no BS, straight forward diagnosis and a play on next steps. I am happy I found them and would refer them to friends and family.
00:46 03 May 22
I have seen Dr. Kuo two times already and he's awesome along with his staff. Very friendly office and I'm glad to be a patient here.
Camaris A
20:01 28 Apr 22
Amazing team!! Very caring, profesional, and friendly!! Dr. Kevin Kuo, you are the best, very passionate, caring, and helping thank you for getting me better and being so kind to me! Elizabeth you the best thank you for you help always and you big smile and positive actitud❤️🙏🏼
breidy valerio
19:01 22 Apr 22
The staff is truly exceptional, they make you feel comfortable and welcomed. The doctors are amazing,always professional, compassionate and great listeners.
Elizabeth Collado
03:25 09 Apr 22
What a great place! The place is clean and organized.The staff is wonderful. Setting up physical therapy is right there as well.I'm so glad I found this place.
Donna Anne
22:45 05 Apr 22
This was my 1st time breaking something in my 27 years on this planet. I was recommended here by a friend Dr. Vashka helped me from day 1 and still continues to check in on me and my healing ankle. Would highly recommend
tyron davis
16:06 01 Apr 22
Brand new office, same great doctors! Rooms are clean, plenty of parking, physical therapy attached, Dr. Karkare and his staff are awesome. Thank you!
Emily B
02:49 24 Mar 22
Dr.VAksha is the best, I love the way he treats me as his patient, he is caring,understanding and very attentive to my needs
Mirna Caballero
14:53 03 Mar 22
Great staff. Dr. Vaksha is awesome and takes the time to listen to his patients. He is very compassionate. I would highly recommend this office.
Bebe Doyle
01:24 23 Feb 22
After suffering from a severe ankle injury Dr. V was able to help me heal and return back to work completely to a job where I stand for 12 hours a day. The office is very clean and I appreciated the reminders of my appointments via phone call and through text. The patient portal made it easy for me to access all my documents including work notes. The office staff is wonderful and Rebecca was able to schedule me with a busy schedule and awesome at answering all of my questions including referring me to a great physical therapy office. I highly recommend this office to anyone who’s looking for knowledgeable and kind orthopedic office.
Elizabeth Birchwell
21:31 28 Jan 21
The staff here are great, I was seen at the time of my appointment and was well taken care of!
Shaun Berry
18:14 07 Jan 21
They are an excellent practice. The front and back office people are amazing and so helpful. Rebecca is such a kind and understanding person. I had an issue with paperwork and she cleared it right up. Dr. Karkare is very knowledgeable, helpful, and caring.
Matt S.
19:31 18 Nov 20
Rebecca K. - What a true burst of sunshine. Very friendly and definitely an asset to the practice!
Laura Aston
18:17 17 Nov 20
Great experience, the Doctor is nice but the staff is incredible. I worked with Linda, who was profession and assisted me beyond what any person has done at other practices. Complete Ortho should be complimented for having such a person on their staff.I highly recommend this place!!!
Joe Allen
17:26 17 Nov 20
Linda and Becca they are so good ever time I come they are very nice I would tell everyone I no to come to this office..
Barbara Victor
16:45 17 Nov 20
I was rear ended in an auto accident , Dr Vashka was recommended by a friend of mine .I was experiencing Back , neck , and shoulder pain . After a thorough examination and given exercises to do at home , I am feeling much better , and I ended up avoiding surgery . The staff at Complete Ortho is extremely attentive and show great care when making an appointment and are very friendly and i never waited more than 5 minutes for my appointment . So I would strongly recommend Complete Orthopedics for any aches and pains that one might be experiencing.....
Bill Becht
04:44 17 Nov 20
It was the afternoon of Friday Sept. 24. We were in Pt. Jefferson and my wife, Mary Ann, broke her hip. We went to Mather Hospital and it was determined that she would have to have an operation to have it repaired. This would be her third time under the knife in the past year. It just so happened that we were very fortunate enough to have Dr. Karkare, who was on standby, perform the surgery. He put in a rod and two screws in her hip. She spent a few days in the hospital and then went to Gurwin rehabilitee for another few weeks.It has now been almost six weeks and we both worked the election the other day. If it wasn’t for Dr. Karkare’s expertise she never would have been able to work. She is able to walk with a walker and is doing physical therapy three times a week.We can not thank the doctor enough for the compassion and dedication that he puts into his work. It allows Mary Ann do the things that she likes to do, even on a limited basis for a while. I know that with her will, perseverance and the great work that the surgeon performed she will be back on her feet in no time.Sincerely:John V. PlumpEast Northport, NY 11731
Jack Harris
14:36 06 Nov 20
In the year of 2018 I was referred to Dr. Karkare because I was experiencing severe knee joint pain. After exhausting physical therapy and trying to labor through the pain, I had to make a quality of life decision. Total knee replacement was the only viable option. Dr. Karkare made my decision easy as he walked me through the whole process from surgery to recovery.On 12/13/19 ( Friday the 13th) I enter Lenox Hill Hospital in great hands. From the time I entered Dr. Karkare’s office for the first time until now, his staff has been amazing. Andrea the medical coordinator walked me through all the paper work and necessary preparations for the surgery. Courtesy and kind would be an understatement. Dr. Karkare went over and beyond from the wellness checks and phone calls all to assure me that I was important to him. This was the right decision no pain and no limp. Complete Orthopedics should be your choice!
Kenneth Randolph
22:18 25 Sep 20
Dr. Vadshka has a great bedside manner. He really takes his time and explains treatment options.
T Lee
12:33 09 Sep 20
I suffered with pain in both knees for years. My orthopedic doctor kept recommending knee replacement . I fought it for years, as I was just afraid. When I had no choice and could barely walk , it was recommended I see Dr. Karkare. We set up a consultation and my wife and I left his office feeling totally confident and comfortable with moving ahead with the surgery. He explained everything to us, and the office staff set everything up for us and made the process easy. So about one month after our initial meeting I had the first knee done. I was up walking mere hours after the surgery, and on the workout machines the next morning. I went home two days after the surgery, and yes walked my daughter down the aisle at her wedding only one week after the surgery without even a cane! Three months later I had the other knee done and went home the very next day. Dr. Karkare put my fears to rest . I would highly recommend him. His expertise gave me my life back. Thank you Dr. Karkare.SincerelyVito Congro
Ethel Congo
23:58 12 Aug 20
Dr Rhodin really cares for his patients. When I see him he makes sure to review my progress in detail.
Micki Cahill
15:03 08 Feb 20
My mom had a total hip replacement by dr karkare. He is the BEST orthopedic doctor.Her incision is almost invisable.She is going back for her other hip next week. The office staff is the best, love Andrea.You wont find a better doctor.
Ryan Brigandi
21:06 13 Jul 18
There is no better Orthopedic doctor you will find. Broke my ankle three places on a Saturday. Called Dr. Karkare. He had is team ready at the hospital and operated on me within 6 hours after my injury. Now After 3 months of great care by him and his staff, I am walking to normalcy.
Spacecom Tel
04:13 23 Mar 18