Arthritis of the joint is a progressive disorder with multiple triggers but with a common end point if the process is not interrupted.
Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)
This Primer explains how joint (articular) cartilage damage can lead to osteoarthritis in the knee.
Introduction to arthritis
- Types of arthritis
- The common arthritis pathway
- How knee arthritis progresses
- What's special about hyaline (articular) cartilage?
- Arthritis cysts and spurs
- Joint injections for knee arthritis
- The concept of arthritis compartments
- Classifying the amount of cartilage damage
- Knee X-rays and arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a progression
Being told you have knee osteoarthritis does not mean that you will inevitably end up with a knee replacement. These days it is often possible to slow this progression and have many more years of use of your knee. The sooner you understand the arthritic process and the stage at which you are with your own knee, the more you can be proactive and seek treatment which will delay or even arrest damage. In fact, this is probably one of the most up-and-coming areas of orthopaedics these days.
There is important progress being made in the management of knee arthritis, with new knowledge being gained in what is called 'cartilage restoration surgery'.
Serious attempts are being made by the International Cartilage Repair Society (ICRS) to standardise both cartilage restoration techniques and rehabilitation protocols, to enable standardised evidence to be collected as to the efficacy of the different managements.
NEXT PART: Types of arthritis