Understanding Knee Pain and Osteoarthritis

Understanding Knee Pain and Osteoarthrits

Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athlete who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals’ knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be debilitating.

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain among aging adults and can have debilitating effects on mobility and the ability to enjoy life. Approximately 10% of men and 13% of women over the age of 60 suffer from this condition.

What is osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in joints and can occur in almost any joint in the body, though it occurs most often in the hips, knees and spine. Cartilage is a rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in normal joints and helps ensure that joint bones don’t rub together. It also serves as a shock absorber as wear and tear occurs in the joints after years of use. Osteoarthritis makes joint cartilage susceptible to damage. Over time, the cartilage may break down and wear away, preventing it from working properly. When this happens, tendons and ligaments in the joint can stretch, causing pain. And, if the condition worsens, joint bones can rub together, causing pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

The most common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are pain in and around the knee joint. While the type and severity of pain will vary between patients, typical symptoms include pain that is heightened after sleeping or sitting/resting, pain that flares following intense activity and pain that induces a sense of weakness in the knees. The pain from knee osteoarthritis can be severe and is often associated with:

  • Limited range of motion
  • Crackling sounds
  • Stiffness
  • Buckling or locking of the joint
  • Swelling/inflamed joints

What causes osteoarthritis?

There are several factors that increase a person’s chances of developing osteoarthritis, including family history, obesity, injuries such as fractures in the joint, previous surgeries where cartilage was removed from a joint, and overuse.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis, meaning that the material that surrounds the joint and keeps it lubricated becomes swollen. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1 percent of Americans but is much more common in women than in men. This form of arthritis occurs in all age groups.

What are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can include:

  • Joint symptoms developing gradually over years, or developing very quickly
  • Stiffness and joint swelling
  • Ligaments that stretch and become loose
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Pain

Virtual visits with orthopedics

Select patients can see our providers online from their home or office by using our Virtual Visit platform. This service allows you a fast, secure and easy way to receive care from the healthcare team in a live virtual visit using your phone or computer. The benefits of choosing a virtual visit include no travel or parking, less waiting, significant time savings, and the convenience of seeing your physician from wherever you choose. Learn more

To learn more, call our Nurse Navigator

If you have questions about your knee pain or if you are wondering if you are candidate for knee replacement surgery, call Kathryn Harada today at 805-955-6233. Kathryn brings a passion for helping patients learn about knee pain and what steps they can take to get back to a pain-free life. To speak with Kathryn about your situation, call (805) 955-6233 or fill out the form below.

Meet our Nurse Navigator
Kathryn Harada, BSN, BA, RN, PHN, CNOR


To speak with our nurse navigator, fill out the form below:

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