Skip to main content

Understanding Knee Osteoarthritis

Definition and Alternate Names: Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder characterized by the gradual breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. This condition is also known as knee degenerative arthritis or simply knee arthritis.


Knee osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative joint disease, is a prevalent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. This comprehensive guide aims to provide expert insights into knee osteoarthritis, including its definition, alternate names, symptoms, causes, and various treatment options.


The symptoms of knee osteoarthritis can vary from person to person, but common signs include pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion in the affected knee. Individuals may also experience a grating sensation or a feeling of instability in the joint.


Several factors contribute to the development of knee osteoarthritis. These include age, genetics, obesity, previous knee injuries, repetitive stress on the knee joint, and certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout. Additionally, gender and occupation can also play a role in the onset of knee osteoarthritis.

Treatment Options:

Fortunately, there are multiple treatment options available to manage knee osteoarthritis and alleviate its symptoms. These include:

  1. Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular low-impact exercises, and avoiding activities that put excessive strain on the knee joint can help manage knee osteoarthritis.
  2. Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program to improve joint flexibility, strengthen surrounding muscles, and enhance overall knee function.
  3. Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Although NSAIDs do reduce inflammation to temporarily relieve pain, they are responsible for 30% of hospital admissions for adverse drug side effects, mainly due to bleeding, heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage. In addition, from the first day of use, all NSAIDs increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
  4. Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to provide temporary relief. Side effects of cortisone, which is commonly injected for joint pain, includes thinning of the skin, easy bruising, weight gain, puffiness of the face, elevation of blood pressure, cataract formation, thinning of the bones, and a rare but serious form of damage to large joints (avascular necrosis). Due to risks, patients may only get this treatment once every several months.
  5. Assistive Devices: The use of assistive devices like knee braces, crutches, or canes can help reduce pressure on the knee joint and provide support during daily activities.
  6. Surgical Interventions: In severe cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical options such as arthroscopy, osteotomy, or knee replacement surgery may be considered.


Knee osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that requires proper management to improve quality of life and maintain knee function. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for a precise diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. By understanding the definition, symptoms, causes, and treatment options discussed in this comprehensive guide, individuals can make informed decisions and work closely with healthcare professionals to effectively manage knee osteoarthritis.

Close Menu