Osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee

Information on osteoarthritis of the knee
  • How is the knee joint?
  • What factors influence the onset of osteoarthritis of the knee?
  • How symptoms produced osteoarthritis of the knee?
  • How diagnosed osteoarthritis of the knee?
  • How is osteoarthritis of the knee?


The knee is one of the joints of the human skeleton in which most frequently develops osteoarthritis. The reason for the high frequency of osteoarthritis of the knee, in comparison with other joints of the body, is that the knee is a joint "in charge"; i.e., that it has to bear the body's weight and the weight of objects that we transport when we remain standing, or when we move to walking, running, climbing or going down stairs.
Most of the patients who consulted the doctor for pain in the knee, especially when it comes to people of a certain age, suffer from arthritis in the knee. Osteoarthritis of the knee is very rare in young people, unless they have undergone a previous problem in the joint (fracture or trauma, meniscal injury...) that encourages the emergence of arthritis as a complication.
The age in which usually begins to develop osteoarthritis is around age 50, and, although it is a chronic disease; i.e., that lasts throughout life, however its progression, in general, is very slow, not reaching to give major problems until many years have passed.


The knee is the largest skeletal joint. It is, along with the hip joint, the structure that allows us to give mobility to our lower extremities, and therefore their correct functioning is essential so that we can walk, jump, run, kneel, let us squat and, in general, carry out any type of activity that we perform a shift.
The knee joint is formed mainly by the union between two bones: femur, which is the bone that gives structure to the region of the thigh, and Moreover the tibia which, together with the fibula forms the structure of the leg, below the knee. Besides the femur and the tibia, there is another bone that is essential for its proper functioning, which is the kneecap in the knee joint. The patella is small flat bone that sits in the front of the knee.
In the inside of the knee all these bones are covered with cartilage, which serves to prevent rubbing of bone with bone on knee movements, facilitating the sliding and absorbing shock. It is precisely wear with over the years and the aging of the cartilages that gives rise to arthritis, occurs gradually decrease the thickness and the disappearance of these cartilage in the knee. Worn cartilage, lost the correct gear that exists between the femur, tibia and patella in a normal joint. This loss of the normal knee function leads to the emergence of symptoms of arthritic disease.


Age is the most important factor in the development of osteoarthritis. In fact, almost all of the elderly have some alteration of osteoarthritis when radiography of knee. However, should highlight that despite the inevitable is the wear and tear of cartilage with the passage of the years, however for many of the elderly does not imply any problem or limitation in their activities. In addition, a very high percentage, this wear does not originate any type of pain or other symptoms.
Obesity is another factor that has an important relationship with the development of osteoarthritis in the knees. It is easy to understand that an obese person, his knees have to withstand an overload of weight that favors greater wear of the joint.
In addition, osteoarthritis of the knee is more frequent in women than in men. The reason for this difference between the sexes is unknown. Finally, other factors that favour the development of osteoarthritis in the knee joint are injuries and previous injuries on the knee (sports, work...). In this sense, the people who have suffered a bone fracture that affects the knee joint, which have been operated by a meniscus injury of knee and has had them to completely remove the meniscus, and those with other injuries that affect the knee, are individuals with a risk factor added that can favour the onset of arthritis.


Osteoarthritis of the knee is a chronic disease, which develops very slowly. The symptoms are very rare at the beginning of the process, and usually when it progresses, it does so gradually, over a period of years.
The key symptom of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee is pain. At first, the pain is very mild, only appears when there has been a very important physical activity (for example, after a long walk) and quickly subsides with rest. When the disease has been established, it is normal that the patient note major discomfort when you start to walk, improving symptoms after awhile on foot, once the joint "come in heat". The pain is added a feeling of stiffness and difficulty to Flex and extend the leg, which, like pain, is also more intense after being left too long at rest (sitting or after sleeping in the bed). Other symptoms that the patient may notice is a sense of pop, that occurs when the knee is bent. Knee pain is greater when it rises and is down stairs, when the patient gets squatted and when walking through irregular terrain.
The knee with osteoarthritis usually does not hurt when it stays at rest, since the pain is related to the movements. However, in more severe osteoarthritis, the patient may notice symptoms even at rest. In addition, in the evolution of osteoarthritis may result in episodes of decompensation, sometimes related to physical exertion than usual (a longer ride, for example), in which the pain is reagudiza, becomes continuous and even knee swells to form a spill.
In cases where osteoarthritis is not controlled and will reach more advanced stages of the disease, in addition to the pain, which becomes more continuous and intense, the patient suffers a decrease in movements that can be done with the knee (i.e. not can Flex or fully extend the leg). Certain deformities of the articulation, and alterations in the alignment of the bones, with arching of the lower extremity may also appear. In these more advanced osteoarthritis it is common for the patient to limp when walking and knee is weak, noting the sick with any frequency a feeling of "failure" in the knee to take the steps.


The diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee is simple. It is based on the cross-examination of the doctor performs the patient on the characteristics of the symptoms, followed by a scan of the knee joint, with the evaluation of the same movements. The diagnosis is confirmed by the practice of a radiograph of the knees, in which the doctor can see characteristic of osteoarthritis and unmistakable signs.
Blood tests and so-called "rheumatic tests" do not serve to diagnose osteoarthritis, since they are always normal in this illness. Finally, other more sophisticated, as the scanor magnetic resonance imaging tests, nor are necessary to diagnose arthritis. The doctor may only need them in isolated cases in which suspected any complication in the knee, or other knee injury that doesn't have to do with osteoarthritis (a break of meniscus, for example).


Similar to the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee arthrosis of other joints, includes the combination of a series of measures, which include weight loss in the obese patient, a program of rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the muscles in the limb and keep the maximum joint mobility, and a series of pharmacological treatments thatindicated by the doctor, help relieve the symptoms of the disease. It may be useful in certain cases the use of a cane, which helps to download the weight of the body above the knee.
In cases of more severe osteoarthritis, in which the patient is very unable to perform normal activities of daily living, arises the surgery on the knee. There are a number of surgical techniques, including the placement of a prosthetic knee, sometimes offering an excellent result in the relief of symptoms and the recovery of mobility.
Tag: Osteoarthritis


The acquisition of postural habits and correct attitudes, in the various activities of everyday life, must be performed since childhood.
Your usual compliance allows you to:
1. in healthy individuals, it prevents the occurrence of pain in joints and muscles, preventing injuries in our body. It is an important preventive measure for the development of arthritis and other musculoskeletal problems.
2. in patients already diagnosed with osteoarthritis, delay its progression, and decrease pain, improve the symptoms.
Daily activities more frequently, or who spend more time, are that should be in a correct way. The most important are the following:
  • Sleep: It is recommended to sleep on a firm mattress, placed on a hard bedspring or a simple table. Avoid a mattress or box spring too soft, since to give up by our weight curve back, damaging it. Use a low or anatomically designed pillow. The most recommended positions for the rest are face-up position, or side with your knees slightly flexed position. Avoid sleeping upside down.
  • Seated activities: It is recommended to sit on high chairs, with straight backs. Avoid overly soft sofas. Always straight, with back well supported on the back, and not on the edge of the Chair or sit with the rotated trunk. When it should remain seated for a long time, recommended the use of anatomical seats, with a small curve at the lumbar level. As an alternative, place a small pillow that "fills in" the hollow of your back at the lumbar level. Use seats with armrests, or support arms on the table. Do not tilt the body forward, nor keep the neck flexed or rotated. Modify if necessary the height of table, Chair or computer screen. Use a lectern for reading, and a footrest on the ground.
  • Loading of objects: Rising from the ground of a heavy object is a harmful overload for the column. To do this properly, Crouch by bending your knees, with your back straight. Lift the weight carrying the load closer to the body. Never catch weights with the back flexed.
  • Transport of loads: To transport objects, place them as close as possible to the body. Partitioning if possible the weight between the two hands... Use if you can transport AIDS (wheeled luggage, shopping cart...). It is preferable to push the object or carriage forward, that it dragged or pulled.
  • Activities of foot: Avoid positions held for a long time. Sit, or take some steps to "stretch your legs" and in general, moving to spoilt the muscles as it remains standing standing (waiting in a queue...), or in any activity requiring a continuous fixed position.
  • Shoes: Use a suitable footwear. Do not use high heel and narrow toe, shoes to prevent injury to the feet. Do not wear open shoes when it is going to be walking or playing sport (do not provide one sufficient foot holding).

Source of information and images: artrosis.livemed.es/index.html

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