Knee Arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), & Post-traumatic Arthritis

Three basic types of knee arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Post-traumatic arthritis

Three basic types of arthritis may affect the knee joint, Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Post-traumatic arthritis. Learn more about knee arthritis.

How does knee arthritis feel?

Arthritis causes pain and sometimes swelling especially with prolonged activity, high impact sports. This includes activities such as walking, stair climbing, or kneeling.

How does knee arthritis happen?

Knee arthritis can happen 10 to 20 years after knee trauma or knee surgery. It can also run in families and often begins in the 40s or 50s. Arthritis can be due to a trauma at an earlier age, a genetic predisposition, or an inflammatory disease. Early on, the cartilage or smooth covering of the ends of the bones starts to thin. At this stage, there are many interventions that may ease pain.

How can it be fixed?

To begin with, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medications, and modification or new exercise programs can be quite effective for knee arthritis. As the disease progresses, cortisone, hyaluronic acid, plasma-rich platelets (PRP), and stem cell injections can provide months of improved function and decreased pain.

Finally, when you reach the point when conservative measures are no longer effective, you can elect to have a partial or complete knee replacement. The positive effects of these procedures include diminished pain and improved function. However, you must consider the risks of blood clot, infection, joint stiffness, and implant loosening  as well. Patients undergo these procedures under spinal/epidural anesthesia and leave the hospital in one to three days. You typically make a full return to low impact activities in three to six months.

Learn more on the HSS website.