Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

Knee Osteoarthritis

What is Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Arthritis, sometimes commonly known as inflammation of the joints. It is the “wear and tear” of the tissues around the joints, knees, hips, spine and fingers.

Between the joints, a layer of firm, rubbery tissues are known as cartilage, lines the ends of each bone which reduces friction between them and allows the bones to glide over each other smoothly.

Due to incidents or old age or heavy usage around these joints, the cartilage may begin to wear out or break down, leading to pain at those joints, resulting in decreased range of motion. As it deteriorates over time, bits of bone would wear off, leading to the development of uneven surface on the affected bones which are called bone spurs, or osteophytes.

Small fragments of bone or cartilage may be chipped off and scattered and leave behind and around in the joint space, causing pain or sometimes known as “jamming” of the joint. At the late stages of OA, the joint space would be reduced and bones rub against each other, causing severe joint pain and stiffness.

The following illustration indicating the various stages of knee OA as time passes, without some form of treatment.

Stages of Osteoarthritis. Digital image. Pt Health. 12th July 2017. https://www.pthealth.ca/blog/knee-osteoarthritis-my-knees-hurt-do-i-have-oa/


Such degenerative changes usually develop slowly over a period of time. OA can affect people of all ages, but tends to occur most commonly in people aged 50 to 55 or older. Pre-existing injury such as ligament or tears, and previous fracture may also accelerate the rate of OA development.


We provide diagnosis, treatment and managing Joint Pain related problems.

Visit Siglap Branch or call us at +65 6962 2144 or drop us an email at hello@dtapclinic.com for an appointment with our doctor.


Sign and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis vary based on the severity:

  • Pain and stiffness. It is the most common symptoms and are typically worse on waking up in the morning or after a long period of inactivity.
  • A “grinding or cracking” sensation can be heard or felt when moving the knee
  • Limited range of motion
  • Locking or stiffness of the joint
  • Swelling after a period of overuse
  • Joint misalignment
  • Joint instability

The mobility and quality of life for patients with knee OA can be very debilitating at the later stages in life. They may find it increasingly difficult to enjoy the sports or fast physical activities that they normally enjoy doing as in the past when young. Even simple daily tasks that are like climbing up and down the stairs, become seemingly painful and difficult. OA can also impact one’s work and life style significantly and sometimes having to switch jobs or even stop working.


Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that could contribute to OA. Below are some of them:

  • Age. The risk of OA occurs with increase in age.
  • Gender. Females are more likely to develop OA than males, especially after menopause.
  • Obesity. Overweight tends to put extra stress and pressure on the bearing joints, causing the cartilage to break down even faster. Excess tissue also produces inflammatory proteins known as cytokines that may cause further damage to joints.
  • Genes. Certain inherited genetic traits that predispose to some people to develop OA
  • Joint injury. Fractures, ligament or meniscal tears, or previous septic arthritis, can lead to the development of OA. Sometimes previous orthopaedic operations performed to treat such injuries could also be a risk factor themselves, developing OA.
  • Occupation. Certain jobs that are physically demanding, regularly require manual labour, climbing tasks, long duration of walking or are predispose to OA.
  • Underlying medical conditions. Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are just some of the many medical conditions that could alleviate and contribute to OA development.

Diagnosis

One need to consult your doctor to verify the condition joint problem. Blood tests may not necessary in confirming a diagnosis of knee OA. However, some of the following tests may be necessary:

  • X-ray. The images can reveal joint space narrowing. This is an indication of cartilage degeneration, and bone spurs or osteophytes. Your doctor may need to X-ray the unaffected joint as well for comparison for some form of affirmation.
  • Arthrocentesis, or knee joint aspiration. A needle is inserted into the knee joint in order to withdraw some joint fluid. This sample is sent to the lab for examination for evidence of inflammation. It is useful in ruling out other possible diagnoses.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. MRI is not usually required to diagnose OA, but may have to be performed in complex cases, as it will provide detailed images of the knee joint including the soft tissue structures.

OA is a chronic degenerative condition which may not be cured. It is important to change some lifestyle such as maintaining a healthy weight, simple exercise, continuing to be physically active, and muscle strengthening exercises to ease the burden on the knee joints. One can also consider joint bandages or support, and/or walking aids.

What are the Treatments For Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)?

Numerous treatments are available to help manage the symptoms:

  • Medications
    • Oral / topical analgesics eg. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), paracetamol or opioids
    • Oral supplements containing natural products that help to reduce inflammation, slow down cartilage degeneration and promote collagen formation
  • Intra-articular injection
    • Corticosteroid injection. Steroids have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and are useful for short term, immediate pain relief.
    • Hyaluronic acid (HA) injection. HA is a natural component of joint synovial fluid, and is broken down in OA. HA injections can help to improve joint lubrication and movement, and provide medium term relief.
  • Surgery
    • In serious cases and the late stages of OA when joints are severely damaged, surgery may be an option. Surgical procedure include: arthroscopy, knee osteotomy, partial or total knee replacement.

We provide diagnosis, treatment and managing Joint Pain related problems.

Visit Siglap Branch or call us at +65 6962 2144 or drop us an email at hello@dtapclinic.com for an appointment with our doctor.


Dr. Tan & Partners @ Siglap

Address:
914 East Coast Road
#01-04 The Domain,
Singapore 459108

Telephone:
+65 6962 2144

Email: hello@dtapclinic.com

Operating Hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday
10.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m.

Tuesday & Thursday
12.00 noon to 8.00 p.m

Saturday
9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m

Sunday & Public Holiday Closed