Knee arthritis

What is knee arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in joints. Although there are many different types of arthritis, the types that most often affect the knee are:

Osteoarthritis
Sometimes called “wear and tear” arthritis, which causes cartilage in the knee to wear away, leaving the bones to rub against each other
Rheumatoid arthritis
Is caused by an overactive immune system and results in inflammation in the knee

Symptoms

Knee arthritis causes pain and stiffness and can make walking difficult.

Causes and risk factors

The cause of arthritis is not known.

Anyone can get osteoarthritis, but it is more common among people over the age of 50 who:

  • Have a family history of the disease
  • Are overweight
  • Have had a previous hip injury

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age.

Treatment options

While there is no cure for arthritis, your doctor can recommend treatments to reduce pain, make moving easier, and slow the progress of the disease. These include:

  • Medications
  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight
  • Knee replacement, in more serious cases of rheumatoid arthritis
Last reviewed: 
February 2018

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