Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the primary symptoms of arthritis. Any joint in the body may be affected by the disease, but it is particularly common in the knee.
Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. It is a major cause of lost work time and a serious disability for many people.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative,”wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, and produce painful bone spurs.
Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.
What Causes Knee Osteoarthritis?
The most common cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is age. Almost everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis. However, several factors increase the risk of developing significant arthritis at an earlier age.
- Age:The ability of cartilage to heal decreases as a person gets older.
- Weight:Weight increases pressure on all the joints, especially the knees. Every pound of weight you gain adds 3 to 4 pounds of extra weight on your knees.
- Heredity:This includes genetic mutations that might make a person more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Gender:Women ages 55 and older are more likely than men to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Repetitive stress injuries: People with certain occupations that include a lot of activity that can stress the joint, such as kneeling, squatting, or lifting heavy weights, are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee because of the constant pressure on the joint.
- Athletics: Athletes involved in soccer, tennis, or long-distance running may be at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee. In fact, weak muscles around the knee can lead to osteoarthritis.
- Other illnesses:People with rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type of arthritis, are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis. People with certain metabolic disorders, such as iron overload or excess growth hormone, also run a higher risk of osteoarthritis.
A knee joint affected by arthritis may be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There are other symptoms, as well:
- The joint may become stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee.
- Pain and swelling may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting.
- Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.
- Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue can interfere with the smooth motion of joints. The knee may “lock” or “stick” during movement. It may creak, click, snap or make a grinding noise (crepitus).
- Pain may cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee.
- Many people with arthritis note increased joint pain with rainy weather.
Although there is no permanent cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to help manage pain and keep people staying active.
- Lifestyle modifications [WEIGHT LOSS/EXERCISE]
- Physical therapy
- Assistive devices.
- Surgical Treatment