Osteoarthritic Knee


Caption: Osteoarthritis of knee. Illustration of a front view of a human left knee joint affected by osteoarthritis. The knee cap (patella) has been removed. The cartilage (white) at the end of the thigh bone (femur, at top) hasworn away in patches. Irregular bony outgrowths, called osteophytes, have grown at the top of the shin bone (tibia). The fibrous white tissues are tendons and ligaments, which hold muscles and bones together inside joints. Osteoarthritis results from wear and tear of joints. It is most common in the elderly and obese. Deterioration of joints causes pain, stiffness and lack of mobility. Treatment includes drugs and surgery.





Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "cushion" between the bones of the joints. Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common.



What causes osteoarthritis?

Primary osteoarthritis is mostly related to aging. With aging, the water content of the cartilage increases, and the protein makeup of cartilage degenerates. Eventually, cartilage begins to degenerate by flaking or forming tiny crevasses. In advanced cases, there is a total loss of cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. Repetitive use of the worn joints over the years can irritate and inflame the cartilage, causing joint pain and swelling. Loss of the cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones,leading to pain and limitation of joint mobility. Inflammation of the cartilage can also stimulate new bone outgrowths (spurs, also referred to as osteophytes) to form around the joints. Osteoarthritis occasionally can develop in multiple members of the same family, implying a hereditary (genetic) basis for this condition.