Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) impacts the bones, the cartilage, and the synovium in the knee joint.
Both the Cartilage and the synovium layers provide support and cushion for the bones so when there is damage to thee two layers, breakdown of bones happen. OA is divided into 4 stages. Stage 1 consists of osteophyte formation in the knee which can cause mild pain and discomfort with minor cartilage damage.
Stage 2 consists of more conspicuous pain, stiffness and and cartilage damage. However the space between the bones are normal with enough synovial fluid present to reduce friction.
Stage 4 is characterized by complete breakdown of cartilage with severe pain and stiffness with simple movement, significant debilitating bone lumps. X-rays at this point shows bone on bone confirming the need for knee replacement as the only treatment option. Diagnosis is made via physical examination, history taking, x-rays and MRI. Treatment can vary from simple anti-inflammatory medication to physical therapy to total knee replacement.