Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Being bipeds (walking on two limbs rather than four) puts immense stress on the lower limbs of human beings. The average male takes over 7000 steps a day and the average female takes over 5000. With each step, the joints of the leg take up to 7 times our body weight. Through the course of a typical day, our lower extremities, cumulatively, bear several tons of weight!

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Joint pain affects about 15% of our population. The most common cause of joint pain is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). One in 10 people will have osteoarthritis. Of all the joints, the knee is one of the most commonly affected. Given the load the knee endures, it comes as no surprise the frequency of wear and tear changes and osteoarthritis.

The osteoarthritic knee will have cartilage which is worn thin or even completely worn away. There will be associated bony spurs at the edges of the joint as well as cysts in the bone immediately underlying the worn cartilage.

Features of an osteoarthritic knee






Symptoms of knee arthritis include pain, swelling, stiffness, deformity and consequent loss of function.

Typical bow-legged deformity of knee osteoarthritis






Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

For the treatment of early arthritis, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed, together with a program of exercises aimed at improving range of motion, strengthening and weight-loss. The use of glucosamine and chondroitin may benefit some patients in controlling pain but does not affect the progression of arthritis. Failing this, joint injections with steroids or viscosupplements may be indicated for selected patients. In patients with advanced arthritis or in patients who have failed other treatments, a knee replacement is necessary.