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What happens to the knee with osteoarthritis

Earlier this year I was invited to present at a scientific symposium at Toronto Rehab. I presented to clinical staff from different centres on the topic of knee osteoarthritis in cardiac rehabilitation patients. My presentation included describing arthritis of the knee, the causes, rehabilitation of the knee, and options that could help keep these heart patients participating in aerobic exercise despite the pain and limitation of arthritis. Although time did not permit my full presentation, the following animated graphic and description are part of my original presentation to illustrate the changes seen in the knee joint with osteoarthritis.

Description of arthritis of the knee:
There are many changes that may be seen with the development of arthritis in the knee. As the cartilage in the joint is broken down it becomes thinner. Therefore the “space” between the bones which is occupied by the cartilage decreases. With further breakdown the cartilage can roughen and even fragment. The rough surface and loose pieces can cause further irritation of the joint. The wear-and-tear and inflammatory changes cause the adjacent layer of bone to thicken and become more dense (called “subchondral sclerosis”). Other changes often seen are herniation of the joint fluid into the bone (called a “geode” seen on x-ray), bone growth at the edge of the joint (called an “osteophyte”), and with asymmetric wear in the joint can cause altered alignment of the joints.

The presentation was well recieved and I was asked along with the co-presentors to return at a later date to for a repeat presentation.

If you would like more information on anatomy, evaluation and treatment of arthritis of the knee please click here.


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