Knee osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is a disease in which all elements of the joint are affected, but the cartilage is most affected. This type of osteoarthritis is the most common. Another name for the disease is gonarthrosis.

Cartilage is a type of connective tissue that covers the edges of the bones and minimizes friction. With osteoarthritis, the surface of the cartilage becomes inflamed, it becomes hard, rough. The friction increases, making the cartilage thinner.

If the problem is ignored, the tissue disappears completely and the bones begin to rub against each other. This will delete tissue that cannot be returned. Therefore, it is important to stop the disease at an early stage. As the cartilage thins, the bone near the joint thickens and grows - the joint is deformed. For this reason, this type of osteoarthritis is called "deformation".

Osteoarthritis of the knee is often confused with arthritis. A distinctive feature of arthritis is that during this disease, the joint becomes inflamed, but the tissue does not thin.

Arthrosis of the knee joint is primary and secondary.

  • Primary osteoarthritis occurs due to natural factors. People who are overweight are most commonly affected. The disease occurs as a result of increased pressure on the cartilage tissue, which increases friction.
  • The main cause of secondary osteoarthritis is trauma. Mechanical impact disrupts the normal functioning of the cartilage and starts the process of its thinning. Secondary osteoarthritis can also be caused by diseases associated with autoimmune damage to cartilage tissue.

In both cases the development of the disease can be stopped. The main thing is to start treatment on time.

Risk factors and causes of

Let's talk in more detail about why osteoarthritis of the knee joint occurs and who is most at risk of disease.

Risk factors:

  • age (mostly people over 40 are ill);
  • overweight;
  • female;
  • Genetics (risk group - people whose family members often suffered or suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee);
  • congenital features, dysplasia of the joints that create conditions for the gradual abrasion of the cartilage;
  • Work that involves increased stress on the joints (constant carrying heavy loads);
  • Sports that involve lifting and lifting weights.
  • inflammatory diseases of the joints: gout, rheumatism;
  • meniscus damage;
  • joint dislocations;
  • fractures;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • circulatory disorders;
  • joint hypermobility.

It is believed that the disease can occur in any person. For example, at a certain point age-related changes can occur that trigger the development of osteoarthritis. Beyond that, there may be no other requirements other than age.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a harmless disease when recognized at an early stage, but an extremely formidable disease when left to chance.

Stages of knee osteoarthritis

  • First level. Its onset is the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease. The most common pain and discomfort in the knee area that occurs during movement. Usually the patient does not worry when he is at rest. Synovitis may develop during exacerbations. This is the build-up of fluid in the knee joint. Therefore, the disease can be visually identified in the first stage.
  • Second stage. The intensity of the pain increases, the patient feels severe pain with the slightest movement. The mobility of the joints decreases, the knee appears unnatural and deformed. The patient can no longer fully use the limb due to severe discomfort.
  • Third level. There is a thinning of the cartilage tissue. Bones rub against each other and sometimes begin to grow together, limiting active and passive movement in the joint. The patient almost always feels pain. Sleep disorders occur and the quality of life decreases. Walking without a stick or crutches becomes impossible.

There are situations in which the patient feels severe pain in the first stage and vice versa - with almost completely destroyed cartilage, only minimal discomfort. You can't set up a stage just because of complaints. This is done by the doctor after examining the x-ray and examining the patient's lower extremity.


  • Pain of varying intensity: from mild discomfort to severe pain that must be removed with medication. Pain at the start can occur, ie discomfort when moving after a long break;
  • stiffness of the movement;
  • crunching while moving;
  • joint deformity;
  • accumulation of fluid in the knee;
  • Heavy feeling in the knee;
  • Lame;
  • In advanced cases - muscular atrophy of the affected limb;
  • Inability to fully bend or straighten the leg.

Symptoms usually have an intensifying character: Pain is more and more annoying, other symptoms appear.

Diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis

The diagnosis begins with a conversation with the patient: The patient talks about the symptoms and complaints. Next, a clinical examination of the patient is performed. The doctor uses palpation to determine the range of motion of the joint.

An informative diagnostic method is sufficient to make a diagnosis. At the same time, the symmetry and width of the joint space as well as the condition of the bones that make up the joint are assessed.

Ultrasound is used to detect sources of inflammation, the condition of the ligamentous apparatus.

The condition of the cartilage and tendons is shown by MRI. If this method is not enough, the specialist injects into the area of ​​the joint and absorbs fluid. This method is called a knee puncture, followed by a laboratory analysis of the resulting fluid.

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee

Treatment depends on the cause of the disease. If the problem is overweight, it is the job of the patient to lose those extra pounds. A diet is drawn up, physical exercises are prescribed. The main goal is to change the way of life. If the cause is an injury, the consequences are corrected.

At the same time, drug treatment is carried out. With severe pain syndrome, the patient is prescribed pain medication. If necessary, anti-inflammatory drugs are also prescribed. Severe inflammation is treated with steroids. The condition of the cartilage tissue is improved by vasodilators and chondroprotectors.

Surgical interventions are performed in advanced stages of the disease.

Metamer techniques have been shown to be effective. Injections are injected into the affected area, triggering regeneration processes in the nerve structures that innervate the knee joint. This makes it possible to speed up the recovery and relieve the person of pain faster.

There is no single therapy template that will be effective in treating every patient. The doctor develops a scheme that takes into account the condition of the joint and cartilage, the severity of the disease and the stage. In addition, the individual characteristics of the patient and the tolerance of certain drugs are taken into account.

If you contact a doctor as early as possible, you will greatly increase the chance of a positive result. Modern medicine can effectively treat osteoarthritis of the knee.