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Knee osteoarthritis, commonly known as gonarthrosis, is the most common knee ailment. Although not categorized as a disease, but rather as a type of arthritis, it significantly affects the lives of individuals who experience it.

This article will delineate the typical symptoms and indications of knee osteoarthritis, along with its fundamental causes, as identified by our team of experts.

Knee Pain:

The knee joint experiences substantial strain throughout our everyday activities. When walking, the knee joint experiences forces that are two to three times more than the typical body weight. Knee discomfort caused by osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee can be ascribed to a combination of forces acting on the knee joint over time and previous knee traumas.

Knee discomfort frequently manifests as:

  • An intense, monotonous pain in the knee joint
  • Perception of heightened pressure in different areas of the joint
  • The individual experiences knee pain that spreads throughout the joint and is intensified by specific movements such as squatting or extending the knee.
  • Knee joint rigidity

Factors contributing to knee pain

Factors that worsen pain associated with knee osteoarthritis encompass several activities and situations:

  • Rising from a seated position or crouching to retrieve something from the ground
  • Experiencing stiffness in the morning upon waking up, which gradually improves within a period of 30 minutes.
  • Extended periods of relaxation following participation in activities of moderate to high intensity
  • Prolonged ambulation
  • Engaging in the act of running.
  • Leaping
  • Ascending and descending stairs
  • Leg crossing
  • Rotating the torso
  • Flexing and extending the knee

Challenges with Typical Movements:

Joint pain impedes regular mobility in daily activities. Knee osteoarthritis can result in intense discomfort that hampers the joint’s inherent ability to move freely. Severe cases may result in intense discomfort even with minimal bending or flexing of the knee.

Pain is the main determinant of challenges in joint mobility. The presence of inflammatory substances originating from osteoarthritis in the joint triggers the brain to transmit pain signals to the joint. Consequently, we instinctively avoid specific joint movements as a protective mechanism to prevent the onset and progression of musculoskeletal discomfort. Occasionally, pain can persist over a long period of time or the intensity of pain may not correspond to the extent of tissue injury in the knee joint as a result of alterations in the brain and central nervous system over a period of time. This topic is currently under ongoing research.

Inflamed Joints

Knee joint swelling is a prevalent indication of knee osteoarthritis, suggesting the presence of inflammation. This excessive collection of fluid frequently results in the medical disease referred to as “knee effusion.”

It is crucial to comprehend that inflammation and swelling are innate reactions of the body’s immune system. When there is an injury or medical condition such as knee osteoarthritis, the body sends forth specialized cells, including white blood cells, to safeguard and restore the afflicted tissues. The cells are conveyed to the damaged bodily part via the inflammatory fluid. Edema refers to the accumulation of fluid, resulting in a gentle swelling. In cases of knee osteoarthritis that persist over time, a firm swelling may develop due to the accumulation of bony growths, such as osteophytes and bone spurs.

Muscle and joint stiffness

Knee osteoarthritis often leads to a feeling of stiffness, which patients report as discomfort and a reduced ability to move the joint. The rigidity might create the perception that the various components of the knee are fused and lack flexibility.

Inflammation is the main cause of stiffness in the tissues of the knee joint. During periods of inactivity, specific elements of the inflammatory fluid accumulate on the tissues of the knee joint. Therefore, when motion recommences, these tissues must overcome the resulting rigidity. Following a brief period of uncomfortable motion, the joint gradually becomes more flexible as joint fluid circulates and inflammatory substances and fluid dissipate. The rigidity diminishes and the knee joint frequently starts to experience improvement.

Sensation of friction occurring between the bones

Occasionally, patients may perceive a sensation of friction occurring between the bones of the knee. Although not usually accompanied by pain, this sensation frequently intensifies rapidly.

Knee osteoarthritis occurs due to an inflammatory process and the slow deterioration of cartilage. The reduction of this inherent defensive barrier, along with a decline in synovial fluid and an escalation in inflammatory agents, makes the joint more vulnerable to pressure and friction, hence causing this sensation.

Gaining knowledge about the symptoms and causes of knee osteoarthritis is essential for individuals affected by the ailment as well as healthcare professionals. Knee osteoarthritis, while not officially categorized as a disease but rather as a type of arthritis, has a substantial impact on the lives of individuals affected by it. It is a primary factor contributing to work-related disability among people in the United States. The typical symptoms, such as knee pain, heightened pressure sensation, pain that spreads, rigidity, and swollen joints, restricted knee mobility, and challenges with going up and down stairs, can significantly impede everyday activities and mobility.