Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a progressive condition that effects the surface cartilage of bones, effectively wearing out the smooth surface often causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Any joint in the body may be affected by the disease, but it is particularly common in the knee.

Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. Athletes who a have had significant injuries to the knee joint such as ACL tears, meniscus damage and impact injuries often develop knee OA at earlier ages.

  • Condition

    Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative,”wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people too.

  • Symptoms & Signs

    Osteoarthritis of the knee may be painful and feel inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. Swelling and stiffness are common. The knee sometimes feels like it gives out with weakness and sometime pain.

  • Treatment

    Identifying alignment issues along with specific regions of the knee that are effected by osteoarthritis can help direct treatment. Braces that unload the knee, alter painful movements or keep the joint warm have been shown to help reduce symptoms. Foot orthotics and supportive footwear that help with knee alignment are also common treatment for knee arthritis.

Symptoms & Cause

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, and produce painful bone spurs. This degeneration of the joint can be accelerated by previous traumas and injuries sustained by the knee previously. The joint may be affected in specific regions or “compartments”. The knee has a inner (medial) and outer (lateral) compartment as well as the knee cap (patellofemoral) compartment.

Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time. Certain weight bearing activities such as running or sports with twisting motions such as tennis may aggravate the knees and accelerate the degenerative process.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Knee Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed with a standing x-ray that your doctor can refer you for.  The x-ray will determine what knee compartments are affected.  By having this information our clinicians can determine what the best treatment plan would be.  After a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis we can work on a treatment plan.

Treatment for knee arthritis can include:

  • Rest / activity modification
  • Medication recommended by your physician
  • Shoes with a good shank and a cushioned sole
  • Arch supports or if required custom foot orthotics
  • Unloader knee bracing or compression therapy
  • Physiotherapy

Unloader Knee brace studies can be found here:

If you are experiencing knee pain or discomfort, you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.

Your doctor may refer you to OKAPED to see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist for Pedorthic management of your knee pain. This may include orthopaedic footwear, shoe selection guidance, orthotics and/or knee bracing. If you know your condition and want to learn about new products and treatments please give us a call.

Contact us to book an appointment for your knee, ankle, or foot condition.

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