Knee arthritis or knee osteoarthritis names damage of the cartilage of the knee. It often begins with a roughness of the cartilage and ranges from tears through to cartilage decrease. As knee o
steoarthritis progresses, cartilage increasingly loses its function as a buffer between the bones causing stiffness of the knee and finally loss of the knee joint.
Knee arthritis does not necessarily entail a severe knee condition. If osteoarthritis of the knee progresses, various symptoms can occur. Arthritis can cause pain in the knee, grinding sounds as well as a restricted range of motion. Since arthritis increases gradually, the range of motion may be reduced extremely, so that the knee joint gets stiff. The walking distance may be also reduced due to the symptoms. At a progressive state, pain can also emerge at rest.
Symptoms of knee arthritis in short:
The causes of knee arthritis can greatly differ and are often subject to age. If younger persons suffer from knee osteoarthritis, often an accident has caused, for example, a direct damage of the cartilage but also of adjacent structures. If the damage is not or only treated insufficiently, the condition may worsen due to relieve posture or much strain. Because this process is a reinforcing process, knee arthritis can gradually progress.
The causes of the patients suffering from osteoarthritis in their second half of life are partially the same: accidents with a direct damage of the cartilage but also of adjacent structures, relieve posture or much strain, very knee-intensive sports activities (e.g., football, soccer) or jobs involving kneeling (e.g., gardener, tiler) may cause knee arthritis. Factors like overweight or malposition of the legs like bowlegs or knock-knees play a role.
In the old age, knee osteoarthritis can emerge as a result of aging. The knee joints are strained the whole life, and cartilage wears and tears as well as other structures of the knee. Since elderly people do also often suffer from diabetes, rheumatism or gout, the emergence of arthritis is more likely. Knee arthritis as well as the other diseases may also lead to a lack of motion, which reinforces arthritis and the other diseases.
Besides age-related factors, also genes have an effect on knee osteoarthritis, for example, congenital soft or weak tendons, ligaments, bones or cartilage or deformities of the knee.
In case of assumed knee arthritis, a comprehensive orthopedic examination is carried out often accompanied by imaging procedures like MRI or X-raying.
The best method to differentiate between different injuries is MRI. MRI enables us to visualize very different structures during one examination like muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones. If it is necessary, we do also apply a well-tolerated contrast agent to improve the visibility of certain structures.