Known as the 'wear and tear' arthritis, Osteoarthritis (OA) is a slow progressive degenerative disease in which the joint cartilage and underlying bone gradually wears away. In severe cases when the joint cartilage (tough material that covers and protects the ends of bones) has worn away, the thickened bone ends rub against each other (bone on bone). This results in a deformity of the joint and normal activity becomes painful and difficult.
Mechanism of Injury
The exact cause of OA is unknown, joint damage can be due to repetitive movement (also known as 'wear and tear') or the result of an injury. Arthritis is the erosion of the cartilage, the part of the joint that covers the ends of the bones. Cartilage acts as a shock absorber and allows the joint to move smoothly. As cartilage breaks down, the ends of the bones thicken and the joint may lose its normal shape. With further cartilage breakdown, the ends of the bones may begin to rub together, causing pain.
Signs & Symptoms
- Pain and/or swelling which is often worse in the morning
- Stiffness or swelling in the joint making it difficult to straighten/bend knee
- Increased pain after activity such as walking, stair climbing, kneeling, and sitting for prolonged periods
- Muscle weakness around the joint
- More common as we age
- Family history of OA
- Previous injury of the knee
- Repeated stress on the joint such as heavy physical activity
- Being overweight
Custom made Orthotics can be an effective method to help reduce forces in the painful area and unload the damaged knee joint. Proper footwear is also essential to your recovery. Talk to your Pedorthist about proper footwear choices for you.
- Knee bracing
- Surgical intervention in extreme cases