Knee - is warmth and debilitating pain normal for osteoarthritis?

My arthritic knee began to become more painful about November last year and has steadily got worse. There is slight swelling and it is also slightly warm to the touch on the inside of the knee. The pain has increased such that I can't walk on it properly any more and am having to use a walking stick in the house - a new thing for me. I've also had a bad night recently when I couldn't get to sleep until the early hours because of the pain. I take 30/500mg co-codamol, but only a max of four a day, which is what the doctor prescribed. I've seen the surgery physio twice and am due to have a steroid injection next week.

Is warmth and pain like this normal for osteoarthritis?


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686

    I think so. I only say 'think' because, with RA and OA, it's more complicated. RA definitely causes heat but I think OA can too. Check with your surgery, Megrose

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  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 382

    Hello @Megrose489,

    Sorry to read you're going through the mill, it could be a prolonged flare-up but I hope you'll turn a corner soon.

    To answer your question - warmth/fever, throbbing, itching, stiffness and aching are all classic symptoms associated with inflammation. Naproxen is the go-to drug to help reduce the inflammation but it's often not enough on it's own. On the spot relief usually comes in the form of ice packs and a wheatbag or hot water bottle for the stiffness.

    The steroid injection is a powerful anti-inflammatory, it will work best if there is cartilage to inject into so I would advise you guide the doctor or nurse to inject into the areas where you know it to be. Some patients experience relief for many months, others only a few days - it's very much an individual thing.

    Ultimately, what's going to help is the physio and exercise designed to help strengthen the areas around your knees but it will be daunting without effective pain management and if you're struggling, try breaking them down into bite-size chunks, little and often. I found wearing knee supports helped hugely when I started out, a Pharmacy will stock a good range and choose one with a consultation room so you can try some on for fit and comfort. Apart from providing stability, the compression can be soothing.

    Hope this helps


  • Megrose489
    Megrose489 Member Posts: 774

    Thank you Sticky and Jonr for your replies - much appreciated. So, I've been for the steroid injection this afternoon - boy did that hurt!! The GP did say that the knee was swollen as well - I've been struggling with it for about three months and it's gradually got worse.

    Fingers crossed that it makes things easier. Apparently I can have another injection in three months, if necessary. I've been using an ice pack and a wheat bag as well, Jonr and will continue to do so. My husband also bought me a knee support which I'm still trying to get used to - at the moment, he's in the kitchen making tea, so every cloud etc....

    In two weeks I'm planning on going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. They have wheelchairs available and my friend is quite excited at the thought of running me up and down Diagon Alley! We'll see about that one!

    Thanks again.