What is Knee Osteoarthritis?
The knee joint is composed of three bones: the kneecap (patella), thigh bone (femur), and shin bone (tibia).
The ends of each of these bones is covered by a smooth Teflon-like layer of tissue called articular cartilage. This layer allows these bones to glide smoothly over each other during knee motion.
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when this articular cartilage wears away. Although arthritis is typically the result of gradual wear and tear of the cartilage, this process may also occur following previous injuries or surgeries. In addition to the loss of cartilage, in patients with arthritis bone spurs often develop in the bones of the knee joint.
Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis
Patients with arthritis of the knee typically report pain throughout the knee. The pain is worse with weight-bearing activities, such as walking or prolonged standing. Patients may also notice intermittent swelling in the knee and/or a grinding sensation with knee movement. As the arthritis progresses, there may be a loss of range of motion in the knee. Some patients complain of pain associated with weather changes.