What is osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee?
This is the term for degenerative changes that happen to the cartilage within your knee joint. The cartilage can become frayed, rough, and bony growths can develop. Whilst this may sound alarming, these changes don’t always cause pain.
What causes these changes?
We do not know the exact cause, but there are several factors that can increase your likelihood of developing knee OA. These include increased age, a family history of arthritis, and being overweight. Having previous injuries to your knee, and having pre-existing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout can also increase your likelihood.
What are the symptoms?
This can vary from person to person, and the following list does not rule out other causes of your knee pain. Symptoms can include: joint pain, joint stiffness (which is worse in the mornings), swelling, and crackling or grating sounds on movement.
What is the treatment?
Whilst the physiological changes that have occurred within your knee joint cannot be cured, there are plenty of treatment options that can help to reduce, manage and improve your symptoms. These are: regular exercise, wearing supportive footwear, losing weight if you’re overweight, physiotherapy, and pain relief as advised by your GP.