What is Knee Osteoarthritis?
Knee Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition which is the most common form of disease and can be found in people of all ages. This condition is a degeneration of cartilage, the tissue that covers and protects the bones in the joints.
What causes knee osteoarthritis:
Primary osteoarthritis is a heterogeneous disease meaning it has many different causes, it is not only “wear and tear” arthritis. Some contributing factors to OA are modifiable and others are non-modifiable. Age is a contributing factor, although not all older adults develop osteoarthritis and for those who do, not all develop associated pain. As discussed above, there can also be inflammatory and metabolic risks that can increase the incidence of osteoarthritis, particularly in the setting of diabetes and/or elevated cholesterol.
Osteoarthritis can be genetic both as primary such as nodular OA of the hands as well as secondary related to other genetic disorders, such as hypermobility of joints. Inflammatory and infectious arthritis can contribute to the development of secondary osteoarthritis due to chronic inflammation and joint destruction. Previous injuries or traumas including sports-related and repetitive motions can also contribute to osteoarthritis.
Although the exact mechanisms of cartilage loss and bone changes are unknown, advancements have been made in recent years. It is suspected that complex signaling processes, during joint inflammation and defective repair mechanisms in response to injury, gradually wear down cartilage within the joints. Other changes cause the joint to lose mobility and function, resulting in joint pain with activity.
What are the Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis?
Knee osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the knee joint. There are four stages of the disease:
Stage 1: It starts as an inflammation of cartilage and ends up with minor cartilage damage. This is most common in people under 30 years old.
Stage 2: In this stage, the cartilage has been damaged but there’s still a lot of it left. Symptoms include moderate to severe pain and limited movement range in the knee joint.