Osteoarthritis is the major form of arthritis that can be serious. It may affect one joint or multiple joints. It can affect spine, knee or any other joint. Osteoarthritis of knee is of many forms however osteoarthritis of knee is the most common type. The common symptoms of osteoarthritis are onset of knee pain, swelling and stiffness of knee joint. The pain in this condition follows the following pattern:
- Knee pain which comes and goes
- Pain with some of the activities, as bending, squatting, kneeling, or stair climbing
- Knee pain and stiffness which is worse after prolonged rest or inactivity
As the knee is a flexible and weight-bearing joint thus it is prone to wear-and-tear. Therefore knee is more prone to be affected by osteoarthritis. An arthritic knee has damaged thinned or missing cartilage in the joint which causes friction between bones.
Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis:
Knee pain and stiffness are the major signs of knee osteoarthritis. These symptoms progress slowly. Early detection of symptoms and right treatment can slow or prevent the progression of osteoarthritis symptoms. Following are the major signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Knee pain: Pain is the most common symptom of knee osteoarthritis. In some cases the pain may come and go or it may be of chronic low level with intermittent flare-ups. The pain can be felt as dull and aching or as sharp and intense.
- Knee stiffness: Bone swelling and friction in the knee joint causes the stiffness of knee and makes it less flexible. A person with knee osteoarthritis can find it harder to straighten out his or her knee. Some people may experience stiffness in the knee only in the morning.
- Knee crunching: Experiencing a crunching or sound of popping when bending the knee, as while bending down into a squat, are the symptoms of worn away cartilage.
- Knee locking up: Some patients with knee osteoarthritis experience a sensation of knees buckling, especially during stepping down stairs.
Causes of osteoarthritis:
- Increased age: However adults of any age can develop knee osteoarthritis, but the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis is more after the age of 45 years. This is because the wear and tear increases with age and the knee joints experience wear and tear with age.
- Excess weight: Knees being weight-bearing joints are at more risk to develop arthritis.
- Joint trauma: A broken bone or surgery can cause damage to the knee joint which leads to knee osteoarthritis.
- Family history: People with family history of knee osteoarthritis are more likely to develop this condition than other people whose parents and siblings did not have the knee osteoarthritis.
- Joint stress: Athletes who are involved in high impact sports are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of knee than men.
It is always better to treat this condition as soon as possible to prevent any major damage. Early treatment can safe your knee joint from permanent damage. In serious cases of knee osteoarthritis surgery is advice.