Knee Osteoarthritis

General Anatomy of the Knee

The knee is a major weight-bearing joint of the body and plays an essential role in movement such as walking, running, jumping and squatting.

The knee is comprised of 4 bones: Femur, Tibia, Fibula, and the Patella. The knee has 2 main articulations: one between the femur and tibia and the other between the patella and the femur. The knee is encapsulated by a joint capsule filled with synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. Within the knee there are other structures such as ligaments to provide stability, menisci to provide better contact between the bones, fatty deposits, bursas and articular cartilage. Surrounding the knee joint are various muscles, fascia, and connective tissue.

The knee joint constantly takes on a lot of impact and stress throughout the day. It is one of the main joints that are responsible for carrying the weight of the upper body; it is a major weight-bearing joint. In standing, the weight of the upper body is transmitted through the knee to the ground.


Knee Osteoarthritis involves degeneration of the articular surfaces of the knee joint; “wear-and-tear”. The cartilage is worn down, the surface becomes rough and the joint space narrows. When the degeneration becomes more severe, the knee eventually wears down all the way and become bone-on-bone. This can occur between the tibia or patella and the femur.

Major risk factors for developing Osteoarthritis are:

  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Overuse
  • Previous knee injuries
  • Alignment of the knee
  • Overweight

Common Symptoms

  • Pain
  • Stiffness (morning)
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Difficulty with weight-bearing
  • Crepitus (“crackling” noise in joint

Treatment Options