Osteoarthritis (OA) can be challenging to treat for many reasons, especially if you have difficulty tolerating corrective force or are overweight. If you are diagnosed with mild to moderate medial or lateral osteoarthritis, or have OA combined with ligament instability, you may benefit from using a specialised knee brace. Depending on your diagnosis, this may help delay surgery.
Osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee is a common ailment and is the most common of joint maladies. Osteoarthritis refers to changes in the joint when the layer of cartilage is attacked or otherwise damaged such that it wears it away - it is irreversible, which means that once cartilage wears away, it can't be replaced. In the end this can also cause changes to bones, too. The mobility of the joint becomes limited, and this can lead to irritation. In approximately 60% of cases the knee is affected. The causes are various: joint malformation, age, overuse (i.e., manual labour or obesity), athletic injuries and accidents. However, the ways of actively combating knee Osteoarthritis are as varied as the causes. Options include exercise, proper nutrition, medication and much more. There's no one size fits all with osteoarthritis. Patient experience has proven that many options work and what's right for you will be something that you decide with your doctor.
Your health care team will always be the best resource to help decide your course of action, since they are able to evaluate your individual situation.
Guide to Osteoarthritis (OA)
Signs of OA
Signs of osteoarthritis
There are several common symptoms that signal knee osteoarthritis. They can occur individually or together. With the initial onset of the loss of cartilage, however, you may not notice any of these symptoms.
When symptoms appear, they usually occur in the following order.
- 1 Cracking in the joint
- 2 Pain during load-bearing activities, such as carrying heavy objects
- 3 Pain during daily activities, such as climbing stairs
- 4 Diminished mobility
- 5 Swelling and inflammation
Self test for osteoarthritis
Use the following test to determine if you've developed knee osteoarthritis or if you're susceptible to it in the future. If you answer 'yes' to more than three questions, or simply suspect that you may have osteoarthritis, please consult with your doctor:
- Does your knee make any noise during certain movements?
- Do you have pain when you climb stairs?
- Are you over 50 years old?
- Do you often perform load-bearing activities?
- Do you do any sports that involved abrupt movements?
- Do you have joint pain after use?
- Do you have any pain the morning after you get up?
- Have you ever had joint injuries?
Helpful treatments for osteoarthritis
The treatment of osteoarthritis is generally to treat the symptoms, since it's not possible to regenerate damaged joint cartilage. The goal of treatment is thus to limit pain, and to maintain or regain mobility:
- Joint retaining (invasive) therapy
- Joint replacement
- Joint retaining (non-invasive) therapy
For more information on treatment options, please download our patient guide to osteoarthritis from the Download tab.
Lifestyle & diet
Lifestyle & diet
With osteoarthritis, there are several things you can do on your own. Living a healthy lifestyle definitely helps. If possible, avoid smoking and drinking. Eat plenty of salad, vegetables and fish and use cold-pressed oils. Apart from that, try to be calorie conscious and limit high fat foods, since every kilo matters and the less you weigh the easier it will be on your knees. If you are severely overweight, it may be advisable to diet under the supervision of your doctor.
The food pyramid in our downloadable patient guide gives a quick overview of how you can eat in a balanced, nutritious way, which, besides other healthy effects, also benefit your joints.
Download our patient guide from the Download tab.
- Agilium Freestep Patient Guide 1.17 MB | PDF
Agilium Freestep patient guide
Download our patient guide on Osteo Arthritis and how the Agilium Freestep can help.
How knee osteoarthritis progresses
Bones that come in contact with other bones are covered by cartilage at their contact points. Cartilage is not supplied with blood - its nutrients are supplied through movement of the joint – that's part of the reason regular movement is so important. Cartilage makes sure that the joint surfaces move against each other in the best possible way – and with the lowest amount of friction. It cushions and distributes the forces acting on the joint. If the cartilage becomes damaged and its glide characteristics are affected, it can no longer serve this purpose and the joint's freedom of movement can become limited.
Because the cause of knee osteoarthritis (improper positioning, the results of accidents, etc.) is permanent, the damage to the cartilage is permanent, too. At first, cartilage can begin to crack, then it begins to break down. At the same time, the bone can thicken at the site of the damage. When the cartilage layer is finally worn away, the involved bones come in direct contact and rub against each other. Typical symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain and irritation.
As osteoarthritis (also known as joint deterioration) is a natural part of the aging process, it can't be stopped. By taking the right steps, however, you should at least be able to delay onset. Because deterioration is always progressing, steps against it should be taken as early as possible.