Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is fairly common in the knees because the knees bear the weight of the entire body. Every time you walk, run, or stand your knees have to endure the load, and as a result of the stress, the cartilage in the knee begins to break down over time.  Osteoarthritis can be very painful and have a severe impact on a person’s life and activity level.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

The main cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is normal wear and tear that comes with aging, however it can also be the result of repetitive stress injuries or athletics.  Any occupation or sport that requires constant pressure on the knee joint, increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis.  For instance, warehouse dock workers that load and unload freight all day, are constantly putting their knee  joints under pressure. The same could be said for a football or basketball player.  It’s key to understand that moderate exercise and stretching improves the strength of the knees, but it’s the repetitive overuse that increases risk.

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee include the usual suspects:  pain, swelling and stiffness.  You may find that at certain times of the day, you feel more stifness than pain. For many people, upon waking up, stiffness is at its worst, and after an activity like jogging,  pain and swelling increase.  Another common complaint is the knee becomes weak and buckles when walking or running.

What Are The Treatment Options?

There are many treatment options for osteoarthritis of the knee, depending on the severity of the arthritis. If you are in the early stages, rest and anti-inflammatory medications may be all that is needed to improve your condition and reduce pain. Your physician may also recommend physical therapy to help increase strength, flexibility and range of motion.  If rest, anti-inflammatory medications or corticosteroids are not effective treatments, as a last resort, your physician may recommend surgery.  The knee surgery will repair the damaged knee joint and usually dramatically reduce or eliminate the pain in your knee.

What Should  Do If I Feel Pain In My Knee?

If you are suffering from any knee pain you should see your physician to get  a proper diagnosis of your injury. Osteoarthritis of the knee can be very painful and debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With proper treatment , the pain can be reduced or eliminated.

Contact IBJI or find  a physician near you for convenient and comprehensive orthopedic care.