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Osteoarthritis Of The Knee: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Cost

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2023

What is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

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Osteoarthritis of the knee is a painful, degenerative joint condition that occurs when the protective cartilage cushioning the bones of the knee joint breaks down over time.

Types of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

  • Primary osteoarthritis: This form of osteoarthritis results from the knee joints' regular ageing process or from previous injuries.It is more common in people of advanced age, and its symptoms often worsen slowly but steadily over time.
  • Secondary Osteoarthritis: This type of osteoarthritis is caused when there is cartilage damage due to past injuries or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, chondromalacia of the patella, and degenerative joint diseases such as avascular necrosis.
  • Traumatic Osteoarthritis: This kind of osteoarthritis develops after a knee injury. The injury can cause damage to both bones and cartilage within the knee joint resulting in a painful condition that gets worse over time.
  • Post-Traumatic Osteoarthritis: This type of osteoarthritis can develop after even minor trauma to the knee joints such as sprains, strains, or tendon tears leading to further wear and tear on the joint surface resulting in discomfort when moving your leg or putting weight on your leg for any length of time

What causes Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

The destruction of cartilage and other supporting structures in the knee joint leads to osteoarthritis. Possible causes include age and use, trauma, excess weight, and genetics.

Knee osteoarthritis might be caused by another ailment like gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Pain: Usually a deep, aching pain in the knee joint that may worsen after activity or prolonged use.
  • Stiffness: Especially in the morning or after a period of inactivity, stiffness might be experienced.
  • Swelling: Swelling around the knee joint due to accumulation of fluid known as “water on the knee” or effusion.
  • Decreased Range of Motion (ROM): Difficulty bending and extending the knee fully due to pain and swelling from osteoarthritis.
  • Crepitus: A cracking, grinding, or popping sound that occurs when joints move due to cartilage damage rubbing together.


How can you prevent Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Exercise regularly: Strengthening muscles around the knee, keeping them supple to protect it from damage and reduce stress on joint.
  • Wear shoes with good support and cushioning: Provides better cushioning and support, reducing stress on knee joint when walking or running.
  • Ice injured areas after exercise or activity: Helps reduce inflammation in the joints and minimizes further injury risk by soothing pain caused by overexertion of joints.
  • Check your form when exercising: Poor body mechanics with sports can cause wear-and-tear on the knees; use proper form or get advice from a coach/physical therapist for safer movement patterns for your legs/knees .
  • Avoid high-impact activities: Running and leaping are examples of high-impact sports that place too much pressure on the knees, which may contribute to the advancement of osteoarthritis of the knee. Instead, you should choose low-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, and yoga.

Osteoarthritis Of The Knee - Diagnosis and Tests

  • X-Ray: X-rays are typically the first diagnostic test for osteoarthritis of the knee. An X-ray can show the degree of cartilage loss and if there is any bone damage.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI can give a clearer picture of the knee joint and the tissues around it. It can show any abnormalities in the soft tissues, such as meniscal tears or ligament tears. It can also help to distinguish between osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis.
  • Arthroscopy: This is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a small camera inserted into the knee joint to view its interior structures and diagnose problems, such as cartilage damage or torn ligaments.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests are not usually necessary for diagnosing osteoarthritis, but they may be ordered to rule out other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Joint Fluid Analysis: An analysis of joint fluid may be performed to rule out infection or crystal deposits that could indicate gout or pseudogout.

What are possible complications of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Impairment of mobility
  • Continuous suffering
  • A state marked by swelling and irritation
  • Knee joint malformation or deformity
  • Insufficiency of muscular strength around the knee joint.
  • Increased risk of falls and fractures due to instability of the knee joint
  • Bone spur formation in the knee joint
  • Risk of developing other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis

Home Remedies for Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

Ayurvedic massage therapy with sesame oil or coconut oil.Oral intake of herbal supplements like ashwagandha, boswellia, turmeric, etc.Regular yoga and pranayama practices for improving flexibility and strength of the joints.Hot water fomentation with herbs like ginger, garlic, etc. to relieve pain and swelling in the joint.Drinking decoction of neem leaves to reduce inflammation in the joint and improve joint mobility.

What to eat in Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • The inflammation in the knee may be reduced and overall joint health can be protected by eating a diet that is both well-balanced and nutrient-dense and that has an abundance of fruits, vegetables, and grains that are unprocessed.
  • Fish with high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore beneficial are foods such as nuts, seeds, and healthy oils such as olive oil.
  • Consume anti-inflammatory foods such as garlic, ginger and turmeric to reduce joint pain and stiffness.
  • Foods high in vitamin C and other antioxidants can help protect against oxidative damage to the cartilage in the knee joint.
  • Increase intake of vitamin D rich foods such as fortified milk products or yogurt to improve bone health around the knee joint.

What not to eat in Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Foods high in saturated and trans fat: These can contribute to inflammation and weight gain, which can aggravate osteoarthritis pain.
  • Alcohol: In excess, alcohol can damage cartilage and increase risk of joint injury.
  • High-sodium foods: High-sodium foods can contribute to the swelling of joints associated with osteoarthritis pain and make symptoms worse.
  • Refined carbohydrates: These include white bread, pasta, and processed snacks which may cause inflammation that leads to joint pain from osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Treatment

  • Physiotherapy: Exercises to help reduce pain, increase mobility, strengthen muscles and improve balance.
  • Joint support devices: Assistive aids such as canes and walkers may help relieve pressure on the joint, aiding in mobility and stability.
  • Arthroscopic Surgery: This procedure involves making a small incision in the knee and using an arthroscope with a camera attached to view and repair any damage.
  • Osteotomy: This involves cutting and reshaping bones to improve the alignment of the joints, thereby reducing strain on certain areas of the knee joint.
  • Total Knee Replacement Surgery: The damaged elements of your joint are replaced with artificial components during this procedure, which is done only in cases when previous therapies have been unsuccessful.
  • Arthrodesis : It is a type of surgery done mainly to relieve pain from severe arthritis by fusing two or more bones together in your knee or elsewhere in your body
  • Partial Knee Replacement Surgery: This procedure removes only part of the damaged bone and cartilage in order to reduce scar tissue development and more quickly return you to normal function following surgery
  • Tenotomy Resection Arthroplasty (TROA): which involves partially detaching muscles, tendons, or ligaments that have become tight and thick due to arthritis and then removing some of the inflamed tissue

Which doctor to consult for Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

An orthopaedic doctor should be consulted for Osteoarthritis of the knee.

A rheumatologist may also be consulted who specialises in arthritis-related conditions for further guidance and treatment advice.

Which are the best medicines for Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Used to reduce pain and inflammation, taken as pills or applied directly to the knee.
  • Corticosteroids: Injected into the knee joint to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • DMARDs: DMARDs are disease-modifying antirheumatic medications, and they are able to help relieve pain and halt the progression of osteoarthritis.
  • Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements: Taken orally to reduce the symptoms of Osteoarthritis pain and improve joint function in some people with mild

How long does it take to recover from Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

Recovering from osteoarthritis of the knee can take anywhere from several weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the condition.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee may not provide lasting effects. Treatment is aimed at mitigating the symptoms and slowing down degenerative changes to the joint for as long as possible.

What are post-treatment guidelines for Osteoarthritis Of The Knee?

  • Do knee strengthening exercises on a consistent basis to enhance range of motion and strengthen the muscles that surround the knee joint.
  • To lessen the load on your knee, you should make use of aids such as crutches, walkers, or canes.
  • Try not to put extra stress on your knee by engaging in any strenuous activity.
  • To relieve pain and swelling around the afflicted region, use cold or heat therapy.
  • Seek physical therapy treatments such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and manual manipulation to improve joint mobility and reduce pain levels.
  • Keep a healthy weight to minimize joint pressure and enhance mobility in general.
  • Wear appropriate shoes with cushioning support as needed for greater comfort during activity or daily living tasks.

What is the cost of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee treatments in India?

Generally speaking, the cost for treatment can range from a few thousand rupees for short appointments with a physical therapist to more than 20 lakhs for surgery.

What are side-effects of Osteoarthritis Of The Knee treatments?

  • Osteoarthritis of the knee treatment can cause mild to moderate discomfort and soreness around the affected joint.
  • Possible side effects may also include fluid retention and swelling in the affected area, decreased range of motion, and changes in bone alignment within the joint.
  • Mild cases may respond well to non-invasive treatments such as prescription medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications, while severe cases may benefit from more invasive measures such as surgical intervention or steroid injections into the knee joint.
  • Complications such as infection, nerve damage, or increased risk of falls are possible risks even with successful treatments for OA of the knee.

Osteoarthritis Of The Knee - Outlook/ Prognosis

Consult a doctor in your area if you are experiencing any knee Osteoarthritis symptoms as they can include Rapid, complete breakdown of cartilage resulting in loose tissue material in the joint (chondrolysis), Bone death (osteonecrosis), etc., for which treatment can take anywhere from a few months to years depending on how severe the condition is.

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Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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