There is a soft layer of tissue located between each meeting of the bones in the body. This tissue, called cartilage, serves to allow the bones to move freely against one another without causing physical damage. They are similar to a protective lining and a lubricant all in one.
As individuals age and the joints of the body see more and more use, this layer of cartilage is slowly wore away until it’s gone. For those who lead an active lifestyle, this occurs most often in the knees as the legs see the most use.
When this cartilage layer is gone, the bones of the joint can begin to rub against one another. This can damage the bone, and results in inflammation of the joint. This inflammatory response can be a painful experience for the individual, and can reduce the function of the afflicted joint.
The Types of Knee Arthritis
Three are three basic types of arthritic conditions a person can develop in their knees:
Osteoarthritis (OA): OA is the most common arthritis that develops in the knee, and is normally a slow process. OA is the result of degradation from general use of the joint, where the cartilage is worn away through physical movement. OA is found more often in middle-aged or people of old age, as they have had a longer period of time to wear away at their cartilage with activity.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): RA is an inflammatory arthritis that normally affects both knees at the same time. RA can adversely affect the knee significantly and accelerate the destruction of cartilage in the joint by inflammation as opposed to general wearing away fond in OA. RA can occur at any age for an individual, and is slightly more destructive to the joint than OA as.
Post-Traumatic Arthritis (PTA): PTA occurs as the result of an injury to the knee, and is similar to OA in that it is the result of cartilage degradation. It is possible for PTA to occur months or years after the original injury based on the severity of the original injury. More severe injuries can destroy more cartilage initially, leaving less protection for the joint during activity.
Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
Regardless of the type of arthritis present in the knee, the symptoms present will be similar. Pain that is felt will gradually increase the longer arthritis is left untreated by a Los Angeles knee surgeon, but it is possible to have a sudden surge of pain (such as with inflammatory reactions that occur quickly).
The afflicted joint may become swollen and stiff, and it is possible that the joint may become ‘stuck’. The joint becoming stuck is the result of either bony or soft tissue overgrowth restricting motion, or possibly a degenerative meniscal tear. Other symptoms include pain that worsens after inactivity, such as sitting for a long period of time, or pain that increases after using the joint.
Treatment with a top orthopedic surgeon in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills such as Dr. Raj can help contain the symptoms of knee arthritis, and when the time is right either an arthroscopic procedure or total knee replacement may be in order.