The most common form of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis (OA) which is a degenerative joint disease involving a gradual wearing down of cartilage in the joint. This results in pain and stiffness in the joint.
OA can affect one or both sides of the knee joint however it usually occurs on the medial (inner) side of the knee. Often the symptoms of knee arthritis develop slowly over a number of years. There is usually a deep aching pain in the knee, particularly with movement. The joint may feel stiff after a period of inactivity (eg, in the morning upon rising). When arthritis is present, the knee joint is inflamed and there may be a crunching or grinding sound when moving the knee through it’s range of motion
Possible causes of knee arthritis include:
- Previous injury or trauma to the knee can cause damage to the cartilage and increase the chance of OA developing.
- Poor biomechanics including pes planus (flat feet)
- Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the knee joint, causing inflammation and cartilage damage.
- Genetics may play a role in the development of arthritis, so people with a family history of arthritis may be more prone to developing this condition.
- Being overweight puts increased pressure on the knee joints.
Treatment to manage the symptoms of knee arthritis can include avoiding high impact activities that may aggravate the condition, performing strengthening exercises and taking anti-inflammatory or analgesic medication. In addition, research has shown that custom made foot orthotics can be helpful in reducing pain associated with knee arthritis.
Custom foot orthotics may be highly effective in reducing pain in cases of arthritis affecting the inner (medial) aspect of the knee and under the kneecap.
In severe cases of knee arthritis, surgery may need to be considered.