STAGES OF KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS
Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the knee over a long period of time. Knee Osteoarthritis does not occur instantly but takes a while for it to become bad. This process happens in four stages – from minor to severe knee osteoarthritis that can lead to a bone realignment surgery.
Stage One – Minor
During the first stage;
- There is a growth of bone spurs – also known as osteophytes – at the knee joint.
- There is no discomfort or pain whatsoever felt bt the patient.
- If an X-Ray is done, the knee joint will appear normal and the bone spurs cannot be seen
- There is no evidence to show the breakdown of the cartilage of the knee joint
- The patient does not know that he/she has knee osteoarthritis
Stage Two – Mild
During the second stage;
- There is an intermittent feeling of discomfort or pain and stiffness experienced by the patient.
- The X-Ray is able to show the presence of osteophytes or bone spurs at the knee joint
- The patients are aware that there is a problem with their knees
- The bone spurs have grown larger, hence the cartilage at the knee joints begin to become thinner
- The space between the bones will still appear normal
- The region where the bones and tissues meet will begin to harden, hence, making the bones thicker and denser
- The bones are not rubbing or scrapping against each other
- The synovial fluid is present at sufficient level for normal joint motion, which helps reduce the friction and helps the knees to move well
- People begin to feel pain after long hours of walking or running, greater stiffness when not used for several hours or tenderness when kneeling or bending
Stage Three – Moderate
During this third phase;
- The cartilage of the bones have reduced drastically
- The bones are thicker, denser and grow outwards to form lumps
- The tissue within the knee joint will become painful and inflamed, thereby producing more synovial fluid, and increased swelling
- The patient experiences persistent pain when running, walking, kneeling, bending or standing for an extended period of time, with swelling of knees more common and visible
- The gap between the bones have reduced
- The X-rays show loss of cartilage in the knee joint
Stage Four – Severe
During this fourth and most advanced stage
- The gap between the bones have reduced so much that the cartilage continues to break down
- There is joint stiffness, possible immobility, constant pain and very little synovial fluid around the joint
- There is more friction in the joint and more significant pain and discomfort while moving
- The X-Ray shows bone on bone, which shows that either the cartilage has all gone or there is very little cartilage left
- The patient would have more bone lumps developed
- The patient would experience intense pain during simple activities such as walking or simply moving the knee joint
- In severe cases, the bones may become deformed and angulated because of asymmetric loss of cartilage
in summary, it is beneficial to know the stage of knee osteoarthritis you are in and have, so that, the necessary treatment procedures would be taken and the fast destruction of the knee joints would be slowed down.