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Osteoarthritis of the Knee

​​Osteoarthritis of the Knee occurs when the cartilage is worn out and can result in pain in the knee joint.​​​


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease and is the most common form of arthritis. Joints are normally covered by a lining called cartilage. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage is worn out and can result in pain in the knee joint.

This condition typically affects elderly patients. However, young patients can also get osteoarthritis early due to injury, obesity or other medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

Signs and Symptoms

Pain is the most common symptom of OA. Patients may also experience other symptoms in the knee joint such as stiffness, decreased mobility, swelling, and deformities such as bowed legs.

Causes and Risk factors

The most common cause of osteoarthritis is old age but other risk factors may include family history, previous injury, repetitive stress injury and inflammatory arthritis.

Treatments and Programmes

Treatment is often dependent on multiple factors including:

  • the severity of your symptoms and disease;
  • your age and physical demands;
  • ​your current health status and other medical conditions that you may have.

​Treatment is divided into non-surgical and surgical options.

Early stage osteoarthritis may be managed with lifestyle changes, physical therapy, non-steroidal and steroidal medications in the form of oral medications or joint injections.

When non-surgical treatment is not helpful in relieving symptoms or if you have late-stage osteoarthritis, surgical treatments may be considered in the form of:​

  • ​Arthroscopy: Using a jo​int camera called an arthroscope to treat damaged portions of the joint and stimulate healing and repair in the defective areas of cartilage loss.
  • ​Osteotomy: Bones are cut and re-aligned in order to re-distribute the forces across the knee joint.
  • Joint replacement: Damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with a prosthetic knee joint. Depending on the involvement of the joint and the suitability of the patient, the surgeon may opt to replace the entire joint (total knee replacement) or part of the joint (partial knee joint replacement).
Contributed by Department of Orthopaedic Surgery