Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Body Part


The normal knee has a smooth load bearing surface known as the articular cartilage. This specialised surface is very durable but usually wears out with time especially when there has been major or minor trauma. When this surface wears out osteoarthritis develops (wear and tear arthritis).

The loss of this articular cartilage leads to loads being placed on the bone which is sensitive with more nerve endings leading to pain.


A number of risks factors may lead to osteoarthritis and they tend to go hand in hand. Equally not everyone with the risk factors will go on to develop osteoarthritis. The common factors are trauma or injuries, family history, being overweight and older age.

Research continues in to the understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that lead to certain individuals developing osteoarthritis.


With osteoarthritis you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Joint pain.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Change in shape of the leg.
  • Difficulty walking long distances.
  • Pain at night.
  • Pain when getting up after sitting or pain after sitting for too long.
  • Treatment

    Management follows a stepwise approach beginning with the simplest measures:

  • Oral pain killers.
  • Topical pain killers (gels and creams).
  • Physiotherapy and weightloss.
  • Joint injections.

  • All of the above can be utilised simultaneously. Physical activity and weightloss remain key pillars in managing knee osteoarthritis. If the pain remains unresolved then you should meet your orthopaedic surgeon to discuss joint replacement surgery (total or partial knee replacement surgery).

    Total Knee Replacement