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The word 'arthritis' literally means 'inflammation of the joint', but in reality it includes any destructive process involving the cartilagenous joint lining (the 'gristle') at the end of the bones.

There are many causes and types of arthritis, but the one which is most common and also most commonly associated with knees is 'osteoarthritis'

Doctors tend to take different approaches in the management of osteoarthritis depending on their particular line of interest - a general practitioner may tend to look at general factors such as weight and diet, a rheumatologist may prescribe anti-inflammatories, including steroids, and knee surgeons tend to take a mechanical approach and try and sort out any structural problems.

This is probably one area where you will have to read a lot and make up your own mind and probably take an holistic view. However, you will find that there are amazing new surgical techniqes which have been shown to be able to restore much of the structure of the joint surface and slow down any destructive process.

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