Osteoarthritis in the knee: What to look for

Key facts

  • 1 in 5 Australians aged over 45 have osteoarthritis [1]
  • 2 out of 3 people with osteoarthritis are female [1]

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition characterised by the breakdown of the cartilage that overlies the ends of bones in joints.

This results in the bones rubbing together, causing pain, swelling and loss of motion.

OA mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles, and usually gets worse over time.

Common OA presentations

  • Worse in AM or after periods of immobility
  • Worse with climbing stairs on incline/decline walking
  • Pain that wakes you at night
  • Pain with weight bearing

Watch out for:

  • Gradual increase in pain (more likely to worsen over time)
  • Swelling and tenderness (due to inflammation in knee)
  • Buckling or locking (due to weakness in knee and decrease joint space)
  • Cracking/popping sounds (due to bone on bone friction)
  • Poor range of motion (due to joint space loss and cartilage degeneration)

Risk Factors

OA has no specific cause; although several factors can contribute to the onset and development including:

  • being female (due to biomechanically strain and increase medial knee loading)
  • excess weight (=more loading on knee)
  • joint misalignment (=poor load management)
  • joint injury or trauma (such as dislocation or fracture)
  • repetitive joint-loading tasks (for example, kneeling, squatting and heavy lifting).

What can you do?

  • If obese or overweight, weight loss is a great approach in order to decrease stress and excess loading on the knee
  • Stretching of the muscles connected to knee and hip
  • Gentle, progressive loading exercises
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to help with shock absorption
  • Drink plenty of water

Taylor’s next blog will consist of a guide to exercising and staying active with knee OA and why you should still undergo physical activity whether you experience pain or not!

If you or your loved ones experience knee OA or knee pain and want to get back into activity, increase quality of life or would simply like more info, feel free to contact out clinic or email Taylor at taylor@ogosh.com.au and he will happily assist. Click here to book an appointment with Taylor online or call our friendly team on 5255 5040 (OG) or 4202 0446 (L) to discuss how we can help you achieve your health goals.