What is Arthritis of the Knee?

Arthritis of the knee is the inflammation of the cartilage covering the ends of the tibia, femur, and patella where they meet in the knee. Arthritis in the knee is relatively common, but it can be quite painful to deal with, especially with movement. When dealing with arthritis in the knee, you may have trouble with physically activities that add pressure to the knee. There are over 100 types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Types of Arthritis


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and develops slowly over time. This arthritis is caused by the normal wear-and-tear and is seen most in those over 50 years old but can be seen in those that are younger. This condition breaks down the cartilage that is in the knee and causes it to become rough, reducing the protective space in the joint. As this worsens over time, it will cause more pain and loss of function.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis typically occurs after an injury to the lower part of the knee, such as a ligament tear or bone fracture. This type of arthritis can come years after injury due to the instability of the knee. Injury can cause more stress on the knee, ultimately adding more wear on the joint, leading to pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This chronic autoimmune disease can attack joint in all areas of the body and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Rheumatoid Arthritis typically affects joints that are all on the same side of the body and damages the cartilage in the knee or joint. It can be challenging to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis because there are many other possible causes of joint pain, such as damage due to a fall or sports injury. The disease damages cartilage and may continue to worsen over time.

Causes of Arthritis of the Knee

Any injury to your knee can gradually lead to arthritis over time. The most common is wear and tear, such as running on artificial turf or hard surfaces. Arthritis of the knee is typically caused by degenerative joint disease due to the inevitable wear and tear on the knee joint with age. As people get older, their cartilage becomes fibrous and thickened making it difficult for the ends of bones to glide over each other smoothly.

Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of arthritis of the knee can include swelling, pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. The pain may be constant or come and go, and it’s usually worse at night. You may also feel unsteady or shaky when you walk. Some people have trouble kneeling or getting up out of chairs.

Treatment for arthritis of the knee may include modifications to daily activities, physical therapy to increase flexibility and range of motion, over-the-counter pain medication for swelling, or devices to assist with stability. In severe situations, surgery may be required to repair or replace the joint.

Arthritis cannot be self-diagnosed and joint pain should be assessed by a specialist. At Plano Orthopedic and Sports medicine Center, we have physicians that specialize in every part of the body. Our knee specialists are familiar with the affects that arthritis of the knee can have on people of all ages and lifestyles. If you’re looking for an orthopedic specialist in Plano, TX, our qualified physicians, specialists, and surgeons can treat every part of the body.

Call POSMC today!

To schedule an appointment with one our specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.

POSMC is a full-service medical facility specializing in the evaluation and treatment of orthopedic injuries. The practice is led by a group of 12 board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician. Contact us today!

Dr. Matthew C. Comley

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. Adam Wright

Hip and Knee
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Dr. John E. McGarry

General Orthopedics, Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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Dr. John W. Barrington

Hip, Shoulder and Knee Replacement
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Dr. Randal L. Troop

Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine
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