What is Knee Arthritis?

Knee Arthritis simply means a loss of cartilage within the knee joint. Cartilage is the knee joint's cushion. It covers the ends of bones and allows free movement. If it becomes rough, frays, or wears away, bones grind against each other. As a result, the joint becomes irritated, inflamed, stiff and swollen.

Sometimes the irritation causes abnormal bone growths, called spurs, which increase swelling. Partial knee replacement is a common surgical treatment for patients suffering from arthritis in one part of the knee. Most partial knee replacements are done on the inside of the knee or the medial compartment. A small minority of patients have arthritis isolated to the outside of the knee or the lateral compartment.

The following two types of arthritis can be treated with a partial knee replacement:

  • Osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. The exact cause of osteoarthritis is not known, but excessive wear on joints is known to be an important factor. Obesity, bad posture, old injuries, and overuse can all cause extra wear on joints. Heredity also appears to play a role.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis is another major type of arthritis often treated with partial knee replacement. This problem is caused by an injury to the joint (such as with falls or car accidents) that destroys cartilage, bone, or both.

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