Osteoarthritis of the Knee

An example of osteoarthritis of the knee. The inside part of the joint has worn out causing the leg to become bowed

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints in the body and frequently affects the knee. The surfaces of the joint are normally covered with cartilage which provides a smooth, slippery surface allowing painless movement. In arthritis this cartilage becomes worn away and the knee becomes painful, stiff and swollen. Osteoarthritis is common and affects 10-20% of people over the age of 65. It can be inherited or follow an injury but often the cause is unknown.

Treatment options include lifestyle modification, weight loss if appropriate, physiotherapy, painkillers/anti-inflammatory drugs, injections and surgery. Surgical treatments include arthroscopic washout (keyhole surgery), cartilage repair techniques, osteotomy, partial knee replacement  or total knee replacement.  All of these operations are described in more detail in the knee surgery section. For more information on arthritis of the knee click on the links below:

Arthritis Research Campaign: www.arc.org.uk/about_arth/booklets/6027/6027.htm