Osteoarthritis of the Knee

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Osteoarthritis of the knee occurs when the cartilage of the knee, which protects the knee and absorbs the impact on the knee joint, erodes and deteriorates. If a wide area is damaged the bones of the knee joint will rub against each other, causing inflammation and pain.

Causes of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

  • Genetics and certain congenital abnormalities, such as deformed legs or knee.
  • Age and gender may also play a part. As a person ages their bones are no longer able to repair themselves as efficiently as before. Furthermore, women over 50 are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men of the same age.
  • Being overweight (BMI >23 kg/m2).
  • History of knee injuries, which increases the chances of osteoarthritis of the knee due to the following possible reasons:
    • Though the body may have repaired itself after the injury, the structure of the knee may not be as strong as it was before.
    • The knee may not have been treated/repaired correctly.
  • Repeated overuse of the knee or of certain positions, such as kneeling or squatting, which forces the knee to absorb a large amount of pressure over a long period of time.
  • Joint inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, destroy the cartilage until it is all gone, leading to pain and stiff joints.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis of the Knee

  • History of symptoms and other illnesses, and a physical examination
  • X-ray
  • Blood test
  • Other tests to see the structure of the knees, such as an MRI and/or CT scan

Treating Osteoarthritis of the Knee

  • Non-surgical treatment alleviates pain and allows better movement of the knee.
    • Lifestyle modifications, including eating appropriate food to control weight and doing low-impact exercises to strengthen the knees, such as swimming, bicycling and walking.
    • Reduce weight if overweight to decrease pressure on the knee joint.
    • Take pain and anti-inflammatory medication, but not steroids.
    • Physical therapy.
    • Wear insoles and knee braces to support and reduce impact to the knees.
  • Treatment using knee replacement surgery
    • Unicompartmental knee arthroplasty (UKA)
    • Total knee replacement (TKR)
      • Traditional method
      • Robotic-arm assisted surgery (MAKOplasty®) – currently under development and expected to be available in the middle of 2014
** The doctor will select the treatment method most appropriate for each patient.

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