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Knee Pain, Knee Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as "wear and tear" type of arthritis, occurs when the cartilage, or the "cushioning" between the knee joints breakdown. It is a degenerative joint disease, so when the bones of the knees grind together and cause the knees to feel painful, the joint lining can swell up and develop inflammation.
Common complaints include pain on the knee that worsens with activity (i.e. climbing stairs, prolonged walking), swelling and stiffness on the knees, or pain after prolonged period of sitting. Grinding sounds in the knee, as well as stiffness when bending the knee are also signs of joint degeneration. The intensity of symptoms vary from person to person, though they tend to increase in severity over time, to the point of debilitating pain.
While osteoarthritis of the knees can occur at any age, thought it is commonly seen in older persons. Obesity is also a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, as every extra kilogram will add more stress to the weight-bearing joints. Another subset of population are the athletes involved in long-distance running, football, basketball, who can be at risk for knee problems due to the frequent and repetitive stress on the knee joints. However, it is important to note that regular and moderate exercises do strengthen the muscles and reduce the risk of degeneration.
Osteoarthritis symptoms can be managed, even though the joint degeneration cannot be reversed. Wearing a well-supportive knee brace can help to offset the weight off the weaker knee joints. Weight loss can also help reduce the stress on the knees. Physical therapy also have significant benefits in strengthening the knee and hip muscles and increase flexibility.