Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint disease that mostly affects the cartilage. Cartilage is the tissue that covers the end on the bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide smoothly over one another and acts as a
“shock absorber” for the joint.
It is important to note that a healthy knee contains a small amount of synovial fluid. This synovial fluid is a thick, gel-like solution that cushions and lubricates the joint. It is similar to how oil lubricates the engine of your car. When you develop osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and slowly wears away. In addition, the synovial fluid literally dries up. This results in the bones in your knee grinding. Essentially, the bones start rubbing and grinding together causing pain that gradually worsens until it’s almost unbearable.
As this process continues to get worse the joint continues to wear out.
The pain gets worse and this vicious cycle of the wearing away of the cartilage combined with the loss of lubrication causes excruciating pain from the bone-on-bone rubbing.
There are 4 different stages (see below) of osteoarthritis of the knee.
A grade 4 is when someone has a bone on bone osteoarthritis. At this stage many patients may opt for surgery.
At Arthritis Knee Pain Centers we have treated many patients successfully with mild or even grade 4 osteoarthritis. Many of these patients were able to avoid knee replacement surgery.