Knee pain in adults that isn’t the direct result of trauma is most likely caused by a type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common cause of arthritis of the knee.
This common form of arthritis usually occurs in one or both knee joints. It is marked by the degeneration of articular cartilage that covers and protects the tibia (shin bone), femur (thigh bone), and patella (knee cap) at the knee joint. Cartilage does not have blood flow or nerve endings, so it is possible to have damaged articular cartilage and experience no pain.
However, a person can experience pain when degenerated cartilage causes bone to rub against bone or compromises the joint function some other way. It is usually characterized as follows:
- In the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, pain may be felt when doing specific activities that cause impact between the bones, such as jumping or participating in sports.
- As osteoarthritis progresses, going up or down stairs and other daily activities can be become painful. Knee locking or buckling may occur. Other parts of the knee joint may be affected. For example, osteophytes (bone spurs) may grow, thereby increasing friction, stiffness, and pain; the femur and tibia may fall out of alignment; and/or ligaments may become stressed. A persistent dull ache in the knee may develop and stiffness (sometimes accompanied by swelling of the knee) may become more frequent.
- Severe knee osteoarthritis significantly affects a person’s mobility and can be marked by bouts of severe and unexpected knee pain.
A graduated and targeted knee strengthening and stretching exercise program is an integral component of the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. At Assured Health Group, our physiotherapist and chiropractor will evaluate the biomechanical issues that may contribute to the individual’s knee arthritis pain. Then, they will teach the patients specific exercises to stretch inflexible soft tissues, and others that build the muscles around the knee, thereby supporting the knee joint and making it less prone to further cartilage loss.