5 Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis, and is characterized by degeneration of cartilage in the joint. The cartilage in your knee facilitates movement, protecting and padding the joint. When it starts to deteriorate, you may experience pain or other symptoms of knee arthritis that make everyday movements or exercise painful or difficult. 

Understanding and identifying early signs of knee arthritis can help you slow its progression and get effective treatment. For advanced knee arthritis treatments, reach out to our team at Heiden Orthopedics.


What Causes Knee Arthritis?

Different types of knee arthritis have different causes. Arthritis may be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Overuse
  • Trauma or injury
  • Being overweight
  • Certain medications

Some causes of arthritis are preventable by incorporating lifestyle changes and maintaining a healthy weight as you age. However, hereditary arthritis is typically hard to prevent, so proactive treatment is vital to preserving healthy knees.

Knee Arthritis Symptoms

If you have knee arthritis, some activities may exacerbate your symptoms. At first your symptoms may be mild but tend to worsen over time. You may not think much of it at first, but lingering symptoms can indicate that you are developing knee arthritis, or knee rheumatoid arthritis. The following are some of the most common symptoms of knee arthritis. 

Pain or Stiffness in the Knee

Pain associated with knee arthritis can occur during certain activities involving walking, running, or jumping. It may also get worse with certain weather phenomena like rain. Stiffness can also make your knee hard to bend or limit your range of motion.

Swelling & Inflammation

Osteoarthritis can cause an accumulation of fluid around the knee in an attempt to reduce inflammation. The swelling typically worsens with movement or whenever your knee is bearing weight. You may notice that the affected knee is larger than the other, and the inflammation is usually also accompanied by pain or stiffness. 

Grinding, Popping, or Cracking Noises

Cartilage helps promote smooth movements, and deterioration of the cartilage can result in strange noises. Without the joint’s padding, you may hear a grinding noise during certain movements, such as walking up stairs. Cracking, popping, or other strange noises are indicative of bone spurs rubbing together while the knee is in motion.

Buckling or “Giving Out”

The muscles surrounding your knee joint may also weaken over time due to arthritis. Without a strong support system, the joint becomes unstable and more susceptible to buckling once weight is put on it.

Changes in Appearance

Deformities can develop as arthritis progresses. The muscles around the knee can weaken and provide a “sunken” appearance. The combination of other symptoms, such as swelling, can give the knee a strange appearance. These deformities range in severity, but even minor changes in appearance may indicate worsening arthritis. 

Treatment for Knee Arthritis with Dr. Heiden

There are a range of treatments for arthritis based on how much the condition has progressed, but they can include medication, injections, or surgery. Dr. Eric Heiden has over a decade of experience as an orthopedic surgeon in his own practice and can recommend the right treatment for you. As a former professional athlete, he is intimately familiar with the conditions that can plague the joints and is committed to providing comprehensive, high-quality care to each patient.

1 Comment

I believe the most telltale sign of arthritis (mine is osteoarthritis) is discomfort when sitting for long periods and where you can’t extend your knee joint. I wouldn’t call this pain, but it is certainly SEVERE DISCOMFORT. I have an NBA sized inseam and flying can be a big problem for me. Luckily seat spacing (on average) has improved in the last few years, but I typically need a right side aisle seat so I can extend my left knee into the aisle.


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