Knowing the common causes of knee osteoarthritis (OA) can help you take precautions to minimise the risk and impact.
So, what exactly is osteoarthritis, and how does it affect the knee?
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis where there is a breakdown of the cartilage of your joints responsible for weight-bearing. This wear and tear of cartilage over time will increase the friction of the joints that causes joint inflammation. The role of the cartilage in the knees is to provide a cushion or shock absorber in specific movements. Joint inflammation in the body presents in aches, swelling and limited joint movement.
If you are questioning why you may have knee osteoarthritis, here are common risk factors:
History of injury to the knee
Sports-related injuries to the knee have a high-risk factor for knee OA. Trauma to the knee in different aspects may have injured the cartilage and ligaments. The injury will change the joint mechanics of the knee.
Increased body weight will lead to more pressure on the knee joints and result in more wear and tear of the cartilage of the knee and may lead to knee OA.
As you age, the elasticity of your tendons and ligaments become stiff due to the chemical changes in your collagen. Having less elasticity of your joint will lead to limited joint function and increased wear and tear of the joint.
Sometimes, your knee joint may make noises as they can click, grind or pop. The name for this joint noise is crepitus. Most crepitus is pain-free and harmless and may not be doing further damage to the joint. The cause of the noises in the knee can be from the tendon or ligament of the knee snapping or popping over a bony structure. Cracking or grinding is common in knee OA. The cartilage in the knee joint has some wear in them. You may not experience pain associated with the grinding of the knee.
As a chiropractor we treat a lot of knee pain associated with osteoarthritis, our primary goal is to increase range of motion, strength and reduce pain and discomfort. Besides focusing on the structural changes, we have a tool that will help relieve knee pain, inflammation and provide you with tissue regeneration. The MLS laser helps with knee osteoarthritis by delivering light energy into the joint to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the area.
Mononen, Mika E., et al. "New algorithm for simulation of proteoglycan loss and collagen degeneration in the knee joint: data from the osteoarthritis initiative." Journal of Orthopaedic Research 36.6 (2018): 1673-1683.
Shane Anderson, A, and Richard F Loeser. “Why is osteoarthritis an age-related disease?.” Best practice & research. Clinical rheumatology vol. 24,1 (2010): 15-26. doi:10.1016/j.berh.2009.08.006
Knee osteoarthritis levels have recently doubled Ian J. Wallace, Steven Worthington, David T. Felson, Robert D. Jurmain, Kimberly T. Wren, Heli Maijanen, Robert J. Woods, Daniel E. Lieberman