Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is caused primarily by age-related wear-and-tear that involves the deterioration of the smooth outer covering of bone, known as cartilage.
The knee is the largest joint in the body and bears most of our body’s weight. Due to the natural wear-and-tear that comes with constant lifting and moving, the knee is frequently affected by arthritis.
More than one in four Americans suffer from bone or joint health problems, making it the leading cause of physical disability in the United States. Nearly 50 percent of American adults develop knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime.
More than half of all individuals with diagnosed symptomatic knee osteoarthritis have had sufficient progression of osteoarthritis that would make them eligible for knee replacement surgery.
The following factors play a role in the development of knee osteoarthritis.
The following are common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
Arthritic knees can come in pairs, but it’s more common to develop osteoarthritis in one knee, as people may favor one leg over the other while walking or running.
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis begins with a physical examination and x-rays. During the physical exam, the doctor examines the knee joint for swelling, range of motion, muscle strength, tenderness and gait problems (difficulty walking).
The X-rays may show narrowing joint space, malalignment, bone changes, and/or bone spurs – all signs of an arthritic knee. Other tests may be needed to determine the cause of knee pain. These may include an MRI, CT scan, or bone scans.
Knee osteoarthritis can be managed with many different types of treatments. Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, non-surgical or surgical treatment options may be recommended.
The goals of non-surgical osteoarthritis treatment are to relieve pain and restore function. The following methods and pain management strategies can help alleviate or manage knee pain and are often recommended before surgery.
When non-surgical treatments don’t relieve knee osteoarthritis symptoms, the following surgical options may be recommended.
Our world-renowned Brigham and Women’s Hospital Orthopaedic & Arthritis Center team is dedicated to providing the most advanced care for all bone and joint conditions to reduce pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life for our patients.
Our specialists in orthopaedic surgery, physiatry, rheumatology and rehabilitation, work together with dedicated nurses, physician assistants and other professionals, to provide state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment for thousands of patients each year. When it’s time to consider knee replacement surgery, our expert team will work with you to determine the best surgical approach for you.
To schedule an appointment with one of our bone and joint specialists, please call 800-294-9999, or fill out an online appointment request form.
We are dedicated to working with our referring physicians. If you would like to refer a patient with knee osteoarthritis, please call 1-800-MD-TO-BWH (1-800-638-6294) or see our list of referral options.
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