Osteoarthritis of the knee joint: symptoms

The main cause of acute knee pain in patients over the age of 50 is gonarthrosis (deforming arthrosis of the knee joint).Degrees of osteoarthritis of the knee jointThe disease is characterized by rapid progression and can cause disability and incapacity, so timely detection of symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee and treatment of the disease, including at home, are the main tasks in the study of patients at risk for musculoskeletal disorders.

What is osteoarthritis of the knee

The knee joint is one of the most mobile joints of the human skeleton, prone to injuries and other mechanical damage. It connects the tibia and femur, as well as the largest sesamoid bone, located in the tendons of the quadriceps femoris (patella or patella). The surfaces of the joint are covered with cartilage tissue - a dense, elastic substance that surrounds chondrocytes (oval cells formed by chondroblasts) and creates a protective shell around them, and also acts as a shock absorber.

The composition of cartilage contains collagen - fibrillar protein, which is the main element of connective fibers and provides strength and elasticity of cartilage - and glucosamine. Glucosamine is a substance produced by cartilage. Glucosamine is part of the synovial fluid - a yellowish elastic mass that fills the joint cavity and acts as a lubricant. If the synthesis of glucosamine and proteoglycans is impaired, the amount of synovial fluid decreases, leading to exposure of parts of the joint and the appearance of intense pain, so the treatment of first-degree knee osteoarthritis always involves the use of chondroprotective drugs.

What happens in the joints in osteoarthritis:

  1. the cartilage becomes soft and loose, and deep ulcers appear on its surface;
  2. the synovial membrane thickens;
  3. the composition of synovial fluid changes, its secretion decreases;
  4. there is dislocation of the ligaments and the joint capsule;
  5. the joint cavity is filled with exudate - an inflammatory fluid released from the blood vessels in a period of acute inflammation.
Knee endoprosthesis with gonarthrosis

In the absence of timely and adequate treatment, osteoarthritis leads to complete deformation and destruction of the knee joint, while the patient may show both unnatural mobility and complete immobility of the joint. To stop the process of destruction of the joint and cartilage surface in case of diagnosed osteoarthritis of the knee, the doctor may suggest arthroplasty - surgery to replace the damaged joint with an artificial prosthesis that is appropriate in size.

The cost of primary knee arthroplasty varies by region and can range from $ 255 to $ 1465.

If there are indications, the operation can be carried out according to the quota under the CHI program.

Classification and etiological factors

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint can be primary or secondary. Primary osteoarthritis is diagnosed in cases where it is impossible to determine the exact cause of the pathology. If the deformation of cartilage is preceded by other diseases and pathologies, knee injuries, osteoarthritis is considered secondary, ie developing against the background of primary disease.

The main causes of secondary osteoarthritis of the knee joints include:

  • various dysplasias and other pathologies in which abnormal development and tissue formation occurs;
  • neurodystrophic diseases of the lumbar or cervical spine;
  • inflammation of the knee joint (arthritis);
  • injuries and microtraumas of the joint;
  • surgical removal of a damaged meniscus or part of it (meniscectomy);
  • diseases of the endocrine system and hormonal disorders in which the rate of metabolic reactions is slowed down, metabolism in bone tissue is impaired.

Primary osteoarthritis of the knee often develops in people who lead a sedentary lifestyle or, conversely, who regularly experience increased physical activity of the knee joint. Overweight patients, people over 50, residents of environmentally unfavorable areas, patients with various types of addiction to toxic substances (smokers, drug addicts, alcoholics) are also at increased risk of developing gonarthrosis.

Regular hypothermia can contribute to inflammation and further deformity of the knee joint, so people prone to musculoskeletal disorders are advised to observe the temperature regime and to abandon activities associated with prolonged exposure to low temperatures (work outside, in refrigerators and freezers, etc. ). d. ).

Women over 45 who are interested in how to treat osteoarthritis of the knee should know that a provoking factor for the development of pathology may be reduced estrogen synthesis, which can occur after menopause and in some gynecological diseases: endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, fibroadenoma, endometriosis. A negative factor are various diets that limit the intake of foods rich in minerals, vitamins and other elements necessary for joint health.

Signs and symptoms

To make the prognosis for later life as favorable as possible, it is important not only to know how to treat osteoarthritis of the knee, but also what symptoms the disease manifests itself. This is necessary for timely access to a specialist and early detection of possible deformities and other injuries of the knee joint. In the initial stage, the pathology has very few symptoms, so it is possible to identify osteoarthritis of the knee of the 1st degree only after conducting hardware and instrumental diagnostics.

The first symptoms of the disease include:

  1. morning stiffness in the knee;
  2. pain when walking when walking a distance of more than 1-1, 5 km;
  3. knee pain during prolonged (more than 2 hours in a row) sitting;
  4. pain in the knee joint after prolonged standing;
  5. knee pain that occurs at the end of the day or in the first half of a night's sleep.

If the patient does not receive the necessary treatment at this stage, the disease will progress. To choose the right drug for osteoarthritis of the knee, it is necessary to undergo a series of diagnostic tests (MRI, computed tomography, radiography, etc. ) and determine the degree of deformation, the level of synovial fluid in the joint cavity, the density ofcartilage tissue and synovial membrane. The symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knees 2 and 3 degrees are shown in the table below.

Differential diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee joint 2 and 3 degrees:
diagnostic sign Osteoarthritis of the knee becomes 2nd degree Osteoarthritis of the knee becomes 3rd degree
Pain during rest at night It can occur when changing body position or getting out of bed. Occurs without any movement.
Possibility to use public transport (except for buses with low floor) The patient experiences pain when climbing stairs, but with certain restrictions can use public transport without assistance. The patient cannot get on the bus or tram alone due to the limited mobility of the knee joint.
Lameness Slightly expressed. The lameness is very pronounced, additional supports (canes) are needed for movement.
Stiffness in the knee after waking up Lasts less than 10-15 minutes. Lasts about 20-30 minutes or more.
Pain when walking Occur after crossing 800-1000 m. They start at the beginning of the movement and intensify after a distance of less than 500 m.
Possibility for self-service It is usually preserved. The patient cannot perform a number of actions without outside help.

Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee at home

The treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee joint can be done with the help of:

  • medical methods;
  • physiotherapy exercises;
  • massage.

The use of prescriptions of traditional medicine is possible only after consultation with the attending physician and should not replace the basic treatment prescribed by a specialist.

The choice of drugs and methods of treatment depends not only on the age of the patient and his chronic diseases, but also on the stage of osteoarthritis and the degree of deformation of the cartilage and joint surface.

Osteoarthritis 1 degree

This is the mildest form of osteoarthritis, which in most cases can be cured with a slight medication correction and additional measures: massage, exercise therapy, physiotherapy. The most effective treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee, regardless of its stage, is laser therapy. This is the main method of physiotherapy, which gives quite good results in the initial stage of osteoarthritis.

Helps achieve the following effect:

  1. the degree of inflammation in the joint cavity decreases;
  2. the intensity of the pain decreases;
  3. the process of tissue regeneration is stimulated;
  4. the need for the use of glucocorticosteroids and other drugs with serious side effects disappears.

As an alternative to laser therapy, the doctor may suggest pulsed magnetic therapy, acupuncture, electromyostimulation and electrophoresis.

All these methods are quite effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.with degree of deformation not more than 20-25%, but the effectiveness of treatment will be higher if combined with physiotherapy and massage.

Orthopedists and surgeons note the positive effect of using water exercises aimed at developing muscle strength in the legs.

Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee of 1-2 degrees may be offered sanatorium treatment (during a period of stable remission), including mud therapy, heating in a sauna, therapeutic baths. Overweight patients are prescribed a special diet, as obesity is one of the main factors in the development of osteoarthritis of the knee.

In osteoarthritis it is necessary to fix the diseased knee joint with an orthosis

Osteoarthritis 2 degree

Treatment of 2nd degree osteoarthritis of the knee includes physiotherapy and massage (outside the acute period), special nutrition, physiotherapy and medication. It is very important to reduce the load on the injured joint: limit walking, avoid movements that require bending the knee. In rapidly progressing osteoarthritis, the use of special orthoses is shown - orthopedic devices designed to fix the diseased joint and limit its mobility.

The drug regimen may include the following drugs:

  • chondroprotectors;
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid;
  • injections of glucocorticosteroid hormones.

The diet for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee should contain sufficient amounts of foods rich in collagen.


  • products with gelling additives (jelly, jelly, jelly, topping);
  • products with added pectin;
  • fish oil.

Almost all fruits and berries contain essential amino acids and minerals to keep joints healthy and mobile, but these foods should be consumedlimited in patients with diabetes.

Osteoarthritis 3 degree

The treatment of grade 3 knee osteoarthritis is no different from the treatment used for grade 2 osteoarthritis.

Due to its inefficiency and severe restriction of the patient's movement, surgical treatment is prescribed with further prosthetics of the damaged joint.

Folk methods

Before learning how to treat knee joints at home with prescriptions for alternative medicine, you should consult a doctor. The use of the methods listed below is permissible only in arthrosis of the 1st degree and in the initial stage of arthrosis of the 2nd degree.

Nettle and lemon infusion

This infusion should be taken orally 20-30 minutes before meals. The single dose is 50-80 ml.

To prepare the infusion, you must:

  1. Mix 100 g of dried or fresh nettle leaves with three peeled heads of garlic;
  2. pass the mixture through a meat grinder;
  3. add 4 tablespoons lemon juice;
  4. mix everything, add 250 ml of boiling water and cover;
  5. insist for 4 hours.

The duration of treatment in this way is at least 60 days. During the first week the infusion should be taken once a day, during the next 7-10 days - 2 times a day. Starting from the third week of treatment, the number of doses should be increased to 3 times a day.

Honey ointment for joints

This ointment helps relieve inflammation and reduce pain. The first result is noticeable after a week of daily use, but to achieve a stable result, you need to apply it for 30-45 days.

To prepare the ointment, you need:

  • melt 2 tablespoons butter;
  • mix the butter with two tablespoons of honey and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar 6%;
  • Place the mixture in the refrigerator to harden.

Apply this ointment on your knees 2-3 times a day (the last time - before bedtime).

Dandelion bath

A tincture of dandelion roots is used for such a bath. To prepare it, you need to mix 120 g of crushed dandelion roots with 150 ml of vodka and insist in a dark place for a day. Before bathing, the contents of the container should be poured into water and stirred. It is recommended to take such a bath 1-2 times a week. After the procedure, the pain in the knees decreases and the mobility in the joints gradually recovers. The effectiveness of the treatment will be higher if you add 150 g of sea salt to the water, enriched with iodine and bromine.


  1. "Only hyaluronic acid injections helped me with osteoarthritis. Very good drug with minimal side effects and high efficiency. Now I hardly feel pain in my knees, although before I could not even go down the stairs without help.
  2. "It seems to me that osteoarthritis of the knee is such a disease that nothing can cure it. You can dull the pain a little, but then it will come back. During exacerbations I am treated with ficus and artichokes. It helps no worse than pills, but it does not harm the heart and liver.
  3. "I was also diagnosed with 2nd degree knee osteoarthritis. The reason was most likely overweight (at that time I weighed more than 130 kg). A salt-free diet, chondroprotectors, anti-inflammatory ointments and hormonal injections are prescribed for treatment. I did everything according to the instructions - the osteoarthritis disappeared completely.

Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is a severe pathology of the musculoskeletal system, prone to rapid progression. The treatment regimen should be chosen by the attending physician after a thorough diagnosis and identification of the degree of degenerative, dystrophic processes and deformation of the cartilage and joint surface. The prognosis of treatment depends on compliance with medical prescriptions and timely seeking medical attention.