Have you started feeling pain in your knee joints? Are the joints swollen and inflamed? Arthritis of the knee is both painful and debilitating. Worse, there is no actual cure. This means taking care of the knee joint is essential and the aim is to improve flexibility while preventing further degeneration.
Arthritis of the Knee
There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or post-traumatic arthritis often affects the knee joints, but arthritis can impact any joint. The most common symptoms experienced include swelling, pain, and stiffness. Arthritis of the knee can impact life greatly. The knee joint is weight-bearing and so, even normal usage can trigger the symptoms.
The Knee Joints
So, how does arthritis affect the knee? To understand this, it’s important to comprehend the anatomy of the knee. It’s the largest joint in the body and it’s also the strongest. Three bones meet at the joint: the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the kneecap (patella), and the upper part of the shin bone (tibia). All three bones are covered with a smooth substance known as articular cartilage. It protects the bones as you move. Think of the cartilage as the cushion protecting the joint- a thin lining is known as the synovial membrane. It is this membrane that lubricates the cartilage and acts to reduce friction of the knee joint. The knee has tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones.
The ‘Wear and Tear’ Arthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis is synonymous with aging. It is known as a degenerative disease typically affecting those over the ages of 50. Less commonly known is that it can impact those who are much younger too. If your knee joint is painful and if the joint grates or bone rubs on bone, it is possible that you have arthritis of the knee and in particular, osteoarthritis. This grating sensation occurs as the cartilage gradually erodes. The condition may develop slowly but the pain is likely to increase. Bone spurs may also occur.