Arthritis in knees or arthritis of the knees consists of three varieties of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and post-traumatic. Each one has a different effect on your knee joints, some of which are more damaging than others.
Osteoarthritis is the first type that might cause the arthritis in your knees. Also known as OA, this arthritis is the most common type to affect the knees, usually progressing very slowly, degenerating the joint’s cartilage, wearing it away. Usually this happens to people in their middle age to old age. The rheumatoid variety or RA, cause the inflammation of the cartilage in the knee joint, but can affect both of your knees at the same time and might happen at any stage or age of life. The third variety, post-traumatic happens if your knee has been injured at any time, closely mimicking osteoarthritis, developing many years after a meniscus tear, ligament injury or fracture has occurred.
The symptoms associated with arthritis of the knees are a gradual onset of pain within and around the joint, though rare, a sudden type of onset can happen as well. You may begin to notice your knees becoming swollen and stiff, making it hard to straighten them or bend them. In the morning, the swelling and pain may get worse, especially after doing no activities for awhile. It might increase in intensity after you exercise, especially after kneeling, climbing stairs or walking. You might find your knees buckling or locking, getting a sense of weakness in your knees before this happens. The level of pain may also be affected by the weather, including air temperature, barometric pressure changes and the level of humidity or damp.
If you suspect this type of arthritis, you should get your doctor to do a series of examinations and tests. The doctor will do a physical first, focussing on your walking, limb mobility and whether or not there is any tenderness or swelling within your knee joints. You doctor may order x-rays to see if there has been a reduction in the joint space of the knees that are affected. You may get MRI or magnetic resonance imaging and blood tests done to see if the arthritis is rheumatoid. The doctor will make a final decision about your treatment based on those findings, which may include surgical or non-surgical treatments, including some lifestyle type modifications.