Arthritis of the Knee

Arthritis of the knee can cause pain, stiffness, and a cracking sensation in the joint. This usually leads to limited range of motion and weakness in the knee that can affect daily activities. Treatment for arthritis of the knee can help ease your symptoms and restore mobility so that you can maintain a healthier, more active lifestyle.

  • Areas Affected

  • Symptoms

  • Treatment

Areas Affected

Arthritis can occur in one or both knees. The most common type of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is the degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the bones. There are three main compartments at the knee joint where articular cartilage protects the bones, and cartilage degeneration may occur in one, two, or all three compartments.

  • Medial compartment: Between the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) on the inside of the knee
  • Lateral compartment: Between the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone) on the outside of the knee
  • Patellofemoral compartment: Between the femur (thigh bone) and patella (knee cap) on the front of the knee

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes arthritis in the knee? 

Arthritis in the knee is usually caused by gradual wear and tear over time.

Can knee arthritis be cured?

There is no cure for arthritis, but treatment can help lessen your symptoms.

Can knee arthritis improve over time?

Unfortunately, once the arthritic deterioration of the articular cartilage in the knee joint begins, it will almost always progress or worsen. However, effective treatment can slow arthritis down considerably and help you live a full, enjoyable life.

What is the best treatment for knee arthritis?

The best treatment for knee arthritis will depend on your individual situation. Usually, some combination of medications, injections, and physical therapy will be recommended. Surgery will usually not be considered until other treatments have failed.

What will recovery be like after knee surgery?

The recovery after knee surgery varies depending on the details of your procedure. Your orthopedic surgeon will provide you with more information before you undergo your procedure so that you can be prepared.

How do I know if I need a partial knee replacement vs. a total knee replacement?

If you have arthritis in one or two components of your knee, you may experience good results with a partial knee replacement. If you have arthritis in all three components of your knee, you may need a total knee replacement to adequately address the cartilage degeneration and sufficiently manage your symptoms.

How do I know if I need knee surgery?

If you are experiencing significant symptoms from arthritis in your knee, and they are impacting your quality of life, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon. He or she will be able to evaluate your symptoms and recommend whether knee surgery may be appropriate for you.