Understanding Osteoarthritis


Types of Arthritis

The word ‘arthritis’ in actual means joint inflammation. The term ‘arthritis’ has been used in public health world to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues surrounding the joint and other connective tissues.

The major types of arthritis that affect the knee are Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Posttraumatic Arthritis. The severity, pattern and location of symptoms vary depending on the specific form of the disease. Hence, treatments differ in accordance to the type of arthritis. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.


  • Causes cartilage (the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint) to break down, causing bone to rub against bone. This results in pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected joint.
  • There is also a rare type of osteoarthritis called Inflammatory Osteoarthritis. This condition is associated with more stiffness in the morning and swelling in the joints with warmth and redness. This severe, rapidly progressive, multiple joints osteoarthritis is more difficult to diagnose because it is often confused with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues. The immune system damages normal tissue (such as cartilage and ligaments) and softens the bone.
  • A chronic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body, including the knee joint, causing severe joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to irreversible joint damage and deformity if left untreated.

Post-traumatic Arthritis

  • A form of arthritis that develops after an injury to the knee.
  • For example, a broken bone may damage the joint surface and lead to arthritis years after the injury.
  • Meniscal tears and ligament injuries can cause instability and additional wear on the knee joint, may result in arthritis over time.


  1. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons