You may find that your knee is getting stiff, especially in the morning or after resting. Your knee might also be giving you pain, which gets worse when you walk, go up or down the stairs. You might not be able to move your knee very much, and find that it feels weak or there’s a crunching feeling in the knee joint.
Osteoarthritis is inflammation of the knee joint which is caused by the cartilage degenerating. The bones can’t move smoothly because of the roughened cartilage. This irritates the knee and causes the bone ends to thicken and sometimes new bits of bone known as ostephytes or bone spurs form.
The condition is most common in people aged over 45, but can happen at any age. You can inherit it genetically, or it could simply happen because of ageing. Obesity and knee injuries are also common causes. Normally your knee specialist will use an X-ray to diagnose the condition.
To begin, your knee specialist may give you some advice on how to ease the pain and bring down any inflammation, for instance by using hot or cold treatments. They might also suggest ways to lose weight or give you some exercises you can do.
A physiotherapist will also give you exercises to help you strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee, which will help to stabilise it and support it. They might also use hydrotherapy, tape the knee or use knee braces. If all else fails, then your knee specialist might consider surgery, such as a knee arthroscopy which is a minimally -invasive keyhole procedure. If advanced you may have to have a partial or a full knee replacement.