Identifying the Three Stages of Knee Arthritis

06 October 2021

Knee pain can range from frustrating to debilitating. Everyday activities such as walking or climbing up flights of stairs can be a source of agonising discomfort. If you’re suffering from persistent knee pain, you might have knee arthritis. It’s an unfortunately common condition, especially amongst older people.

There are different kinds of knee arthritis, and three stages of severity. In this article, we summarise the major types of knee arthritis, then outline the symptoms of the three stages. Arthritis is a disease suffered by thousands of Australians. Although there is no cure, there are many treatment options.

If you’re concerned that you might have knee arthritis, you should seek the advice of a knee specialist. Mr Soong Chua is a knee surgeon in Melbourne with world-leading expertise in surgical and non-surgical management of knee injuries and diseases. Soong Chua will tailor treatment to your condition to maximise your mobility and provide invaluable pain relief.


Types of knee arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: the most common type of arthritis. This comes about from everyday wear and tear of the joint. Osteoarthritis appears most often in people over the age of 50 (although younger people can get it too). As the knee cartilage degenerates, it becomes rough and damaged. This can result in painful bone-to-bone contact.
  • Rheumatoid and inflammatory arthritis: chronic autoimmune disease, where the body attacks its own tissue. It will often affect both knees symmetrically and result in a swelling of the synovial membrane. This causes stiffness and discomfort.
  • Posttraumatic arthritis: this type occurs after an injury, and can appear years after the event. When the joint is damaged (for example, when a bone is broken), it can affect the joint surface and result in rubbing and painful contact.


Identifying the three stages of knee arthritis

  • Minimum disruption: occasional pain and discomfort. There may be some signs of muscle loss. An average loss of cartilage would be around 10%. This level of knee arthritis can normally be treated with over the counter pain medication such as Panadol.
  • Moderate disruption: regular pain at a significant level. Bone projections (osteophytes) may occur. Gaps in cartilage expand and frequently touch other moving parts of the joint.
  • Severe disruption: dramatically reduced joint space and exposed bone matter. This may be accompanied with an increase of osteophytes. The level of pain at this level is debilitating. Specialists will likely recommend strategies of active intervention.


Treatment options

There are treatment options for every stage of knee arthritis. Non-surgical strategies such as painkillers, lifestyle changes, activity modification, injections, and physical therapy may be recommended for mild and moderate cases. For patients suffering from severe cases, surgical options will be considered. Knee arthritis surgery can be life changing. Many patients find that it helps them rediscover freedom and mobility they never thought they would access again.


Mr Soong Chua: knee specialist in Melbourne

If you are suffering from knee arthritis, know that orthopaedic specialists have developed advanced strategies to manage every level of the condition. Don’t feel that you have to push through without expert support; Soong Chua has helped countless patients access pain relief and increased movement.


Have a question? Get in touch with his team today.

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