What Causes Knee Arthritis?

What Causes Knee Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis – it is also called wear-and-tear arthritis or just “arthritis.” This type of joint inflammation can happen to people as we get older, and it can also happen to young athletes whose joints are repeatedly harshly used. This is because osteoarthritis develops due to the wearing-down of the protective cartilage in a joint, so the bones begin to rub against each other and cause pain.

The knee is one of the most common places where arthritis can develop. The main culprits behind knee arthritis are genetics, age, lifestyle, weight, and trauma to the knee.

The knee is made up of three bones: the bottom of the femur (thighbone, or upper leg bone), the top of the tibia (shinbone, which is the larger of the two bones in the lower leg), and the patella (kneecap). These bones are attached to each other through a network of ligaments and cartilage.

Special Cartilage in the Knee

Each knee has two moon-shaped sections of cartilage, each called a meniscus. The lateral meniscus is located in the outer knee – near your hands when you are standing up with your arms at your sides – and the medial meniscus is in the inner knee. When someone has a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in the knee, they are also likely to have a torn meniscus.

The more wear-and-tear and injury that is caused to this cartilage, the more likely you are to develop arthritis in the knee. This is because the menisci cannot fully perform their job as a cushion between the knee bones.

How Does Knee Arthritis Start?

Knee arthritis is characterized by pain that gets worse with activity, and abates when the knee is at rest. The inflammation caused by the arthritis can feel warm to the touch.

The knee may feel stiff, especially after being immobile for a period of time, such as first thing in the morning. The pain and stiffness of arthritis may be intermittent at first and develop progressively, becoming chronic pain.

What Makes Me Susceptible to Arthritis of the Knee?

Inherited bone structure or genetic mutations can contribute to the development of knee arthritis, as well as repetitive injury from a profession or sports. Age-related arthritis becomes common after 45 years of age.

Weight is also a factor, since the knee bears much of the body’s weight. The constant pounding pressure that is placed on the knee when walking, which becomes greater with more weight, causes the cartilage in the joint to break down over time. When the cartilage disintegrates, bone-on-bone scraping occurs whenever you move your leg.

Orthopedic Knee Surgery in Macomb County, MI

Fortunately, the days of suffering with knee pain associated with arthritis are over. Movement Orthopedics treats knee arthritis with state-of-the art surgical and nonsurgical methods, and our orthopedic team can help you get back to an enjoyable lifestyle again.

If you have any questions about our practice, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled orthopedic surgeons, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (586) 436-3785 or by filling out our easy-to-use online appointment request form now. We look forward to being your partner in total health and wellness!

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