What Is Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

The knee…we get down on one to promise life-long devotion, we use them to squat down to grandchild
level at playtime and we constantly bend them throughout the day for everything from picking up things
we drop, to simply walking up the stairs. When our knees are compromised, it can certainly throw a cog
in the works.
Osteoarthritis of the knee, a degenerative arthritis of the knee, is one of the most common ailments
affecting the knee. More than 27 million people in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis, with the
knee being one of the most commonly affected areas of the body. Osteoarthritis of the knee is most
common in those 45 years of age and older, and women over 55 years of age are more likely to develop
osteoarthritis of the knee than their male counterparts.
Causes
More specifically, osteoarthritis of the knee is a condition where the natural cushioning between joints
wears away, thereby eliminating the barrier between the joint bones. The subsequent friction created
between joint bones in the knee can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion and
sometimes bone spurs.
While wear and tear over time is the most prevalent cause of osteoarthritis of the knee, heredity,
infection and added knee joint stress caused by obesity can increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the
knee development as well. Osteoarthritis of the knee can also result from injury. For instance, contact
sports and jobs with repetitive kneeling can put additional stress on the knee, which can add to pressure
on the knee joint and subsequent development of osteoarthritis of the knee. People with rheumatoid
arthritis are also at higher risk for osteoarthritis of the knee development.
Symptoms
The symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee can include pain that increases with activity, swelling and/or
warmth in the knee joint, stiffness – especially with inactivity, a cracking sound with knee movement…all
of which can lead to decreased mobility. Sufferers of osteoarthritis of the knee may find it difficult to
climb stairs, get in and out of cars and chairs and may even have trouble walking.
Diagnosis
Those who think they may be experiencing symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee should begin the
diagnosis process with a visit to their general healthcare practitioner. A physical exam should be
conducted, along with the gathering of medical history and symptom notation.
Then, blood tests are typically conducted to rule out other conditions which could cause similar
symptoms. X-rays are used to locate any cartilage damage or bone spurs and MRIs are utilized for the
acquisition of more detailed joint tissue images.
Treatment

Osteoarthritis of the knee can last years, if not a lifetime; and although there is no known cure,
medication, therapy and surgery can be used to reduce inflammation and pain. Recommendations for
treatment may include stretching for increased flexibility and mobility, muscle strengthening by way of
exercise, weight loss if necessary, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as topical lotions,
steroid injections for inflammation, hyaluronic acid injections for lubrication, braces for additional knee
support and physical and/or occupational therapy.
If treatments and medications don’t work, surgery is another option. Surgical options include joint
replacement. Knee joint replacement is not recommended for those under 50 years of age, as the
longevity of most new knee joints is only approximately 20 years.
A surgical procedure which is often used in younger sufferers of osteoarthritis of the knee is
arthroscopy. Performed through small incisions, arthroscopy uses a small telescope to repair tissue
and/or clean-up the area by removing damaged cartilage and any loose particles.
Osteotomy alignment, which might be used in an instance such as when a broken knee has not healed
properly, is a surgery which actually changes the shape of the bones in the knee joint.
Prevention
The best protection against osteoarthritis of the knee is if you can happen to prevent it in the first place.
The knee is a joint that receives constant pressure. Consequently, weakened muscles can lead to
osteoarthritis of the knee. What can we do to prevent osteoarthritis of the knee? Regular, low-impact,
moderate exercise can be used to strengthen muscles with the goal of decreasing the risk of
osteoarthritis of the knee development.
Clinical Trials for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Riverside Clinical Research, an award-winning facility dedicated to innovations in medicine, is currently
conducting clinical studies on osteoarthritis of the knee. If you are interested in finding out more about
what these studies entail, you can call Riverside Clinical Research for more information at 386-428-7730
Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; or if it is more
convenient, feel free to email your questions to info@riversideclinicalresearch.com. If you would like to
enroll with Riverside Clinical Research so that you can be contacted about studies in your area, you can
do that through our patient portal which can be accessed on riversideclinicalresearch.com.
Leading the way to better healthcare, the professionals at Riverside Clinical Research draw upon
combined over 50 years of clinical trial experience to consistently break new ground in medicine. The
Riverside Clinical Research doctors and experienced research professionals work closely with clinical trial
volunteers to monitor and assess the benefits and effectiveness of medication…with the ultimate goal
of contributing to significant breakthroughs in healthcare. Clinical trial volunteers have the privilege of
becoming part of that process, as well as access to medical treatments before they are made available
to the general public and compensation for their participation.