Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting the knee. It is a degenerative condition involving the wear and tear of the weight bearing surface of the cartilage in the knee. Wear and tear occurs in response to the load and biomechanics placed on the knee.
What Causes Osteoarthritis in the knee?
Risk factors associated with osteoarthritis in the knee include:
- Previous knee injury
- Repeated excessive loading on the knee via work or sport
Cartilage does not have blood supply and therefore have a limited capacity to heal. It receives nutrition from joint compression forces caused by physical activity. However, excessive amounts of joint compression can inappropriately load the knee joint and cause earlier degeneration.
What are the symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis?
Often pain is vague and gradual over many years. In mildly severe cases, the knee may be stiff and limit you capacity to bend and straighten the knee as well as put weight on it. The knee may also feel warm.
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed using an X- ray. The degree of severity is graded:
- Grade 0: No radiographic features of osteoarthritis
- Grade 1: Possible joint space narrowing and osteophytic formation
- Grade 2: Definite osteophyte formation with possible joint space narrowing
- Grade 3: Multiple osteophytes, definite joint space narrowing, sclerosis and possible bony deformity
- Grade 4: Large osteophytes, marked joint space narrowing, severe sclerosis and definite bony deformity (Kellgren–Lawrence grading scale)
Treatment for Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee replacements are often only offered to patients with severe (Grade 4) osteoarthritis to reduce the need for surgical revision in the future. Patients with mild osteoarthitis are encouraged to manage symptoms with exercise.
Physiotherapy aims to restore pain- free range of movement, reduce inflammation and stiffness and strengthen the muscles around the knee. Proprioceptive and balance exercises may also be helpful
Your Physiotherapist will discuss your treatment goals and educate you about the condition, the rehabilitation process and preventative methods to reduce the risk of future injury.
To book an appointment with one of our skilled Physiotherapists please call (02) 8068 8832 or email us at [email protected].