Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including several patients whom I see regularly in my practice. Somewhat different from “regular” arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system, which normally attacks foreign agents like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints. This creates chronic inflammation that causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints to thicken, resulting in noticeable swelling and sometimes excruciating pain in and around the joints.
If you’re like a lot of people over age 50, knees that have served you well for years gradually start hurting and swelling. They may start making cracking or popping sounds, and you may even feel a grinding sensation in your knees as you move. Most likely, you’ve developed arthritis of the knee, something we see quite often at Westchester Health.