The most common type of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis where there is gradual and progressive wear and tear of the articular cartilage (joint surfaces). Other types of arthritis include inflammatory problems such as rheumatoid disease. Eventually the joint may wear down to bare bone which is very painful and can severely impact on a patient’s quality of life.
There are 3 compartments within the knee joint: the patellofemoral joint between the patella (knee cap) and the front of the femur (thigh bone), the medial compartment (inner aspect of the knee joint) and the lateral compartment (outer aspect). Osteoarthritis can affect one, two or all 3 compartments of the knee but the medial compartment is most commonly involved.
Symptoms of knee arthritis include pain, stiffness and loss of function. Patients may report difficulty with walking or other weight bearing activities and in severe cases there may even be sleep disturbance. Diagnosis is made with history, clinical examination and weight bearing x-rays to confirm the severity of arthritis.