Arthritis, also called osteoarthritis, in the knee is an inflammation of the knee joint associated with a trauma, repeated micro-traumas, or general wear-and-tear of the joint. The cartilage tissue in your knee begins to break down and leaves the bones of the knee rubbing against each other as you move.
In the knee, your thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia) and knee cap (patella) come together. Where the bones meet, they are covered in cartilage, a complex and specialised connective tissue that enables the bones to be move smoothly against each other. Knee cartilage is a durable substance that allows large forces to be transmitted across the end of the the thigh bone and the top of the shin bone. It provides a shock-absorbing effect and allows the bones to be move smoothly when in motion.
Basically there are three different types of arthritis that can occur in your knees; post-traumatic arthritis, following an injury to the knee; rheumatoid arthritis, which is associated with inflammation resulting from overactive immune system, and osteoarthritis - the most common type. Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease that slowly wears away joint cartilage.
Who gets osteoarthritis?
Since osteoarthritis develops slowly over the years it is more likely to strike after middle age, but nowadays researchers agree that other factors might be significant, such as obesity and heredity. However, people of all ages who expose their knees to repetitive stress, are at risk of developing this condition.
The symptoms usually develop in a slow manner. Over time, you might experience pain and stiffness of the knee when walking or standing, loss of flexibility, grating sensations, cracking and popping sounds heard when the knee joint is used.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
Studies have shown that regular exercise can have a positive effect on your knee pain. Painkillers, injections or even surgery may be recommended by your physician if you experience severe pain or mobility problems. If left untreated, cartilage breakdown will accelerate until the situation has deteriorated to a point where the bones of the joint are exposed. Once full (osteo)arthritis has developed, you are no longer suitable for an Episealer and are more likely to be looking at some sort of joint replacement treatment.