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Understanding Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

If You Suffer from Osteoarthritis You're Not Alone!

Osteoarthritis Affects More Than 35 Million U.S. Adults.*


Sedentary Vulnerability

40% of adults with arthritis are inactive. Inactivity exacerbates obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.


Decreased Independence

23.77 million adults have difficulty with their usual activities due to arthritis.


Lost Earnings

$80 billion in lost work earnings annually are attributed to osteoarthritis.


Medical Costs

$2,017 average per person, per year in medical costs are attributed to osteoarthritis.


Total Knee Replacement

12% of TKR recipients need a 2nd surgery after 10 years.

*Sources: Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, The Bone & Joint Journal, Centeres for Disease Control and Prevention (2017), National Center for Biotechnology Information (NIH, 2016), Integrated Benefits Institute (2019)

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most commonly diagnosed type of arthritis disease. Knee OA is one of the most prevalent types. Often called “wear and tear” arthritis, it can happen at any age, but it commonly starts in the 50s. There is no cure for OA. The disease starts gradually and worsens over time.

In healthy knee joints, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling, and problems moving the joint.

Currently, there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, but there are effective treatments that can help slow its progress and prevent further damage and pain. 

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As OA runs its course over time, it unforgivingly causes the bones to break down, resulting in small but significant growths known as spurs. These seemingly unharmful bits of bone or cartilage can detach and float within the joint space, making pain worse.

The final phases of OA can be extremely painful as the cartilage diminishes, leading to an unavoidable reality—bone grating against bone. This pivotal point sums up OA’s progression, inflicting pronounced joint damage and instigating heightened levels of discomfort and pain.

It’s important to remember that OA is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. You may start out with subtle symptoms or pain, but as time goes on, it’s almost guaranteed that things will get worse and pain will become more intense. 

We aren’t trying to sound all “doom and gloom” here, but OA is no joke. Thankfully, there are treatments to help with the pain and discomfort. 

What Are Five Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

  1. Pain: Osteoarthritis brings persistent joint pain, often aggravated by movement. This discomfort, ranging from mild to severe, can hinder daily activities and quality of life.
  1. Stiffness: Morning stiffness or after inactivity is common with osteoarthritis. Joints feel resistant, slowing movement and causing discomfort.
  1. Reduced Range of Motion and Flexibility: Osteoarthritis diminishes joint flexibility, limiting easy movements and impacting the range of motion over time.
  1. Swelling: Swelling, warmth, and tenderness are signs of inflammation in osteoarthritis-affected joints, causing discomfort.
  1. Grating Sensation (Crepitus): Crepitus, a grating or crackling sensation, can occur when moving an osteoarthritis-affected joint due to bone friction.

At Arthritis Knee Pain Centers, we understand that the intensity and interplay of these symptoms can differ among individuals. That’s why seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective management. Your journey towards improved well-being starts with a proper assessment.

The Progressive Stages of Osteoarthritis

Stages of Osteoarthritis Graphics Stage 1 1

Stage 1:  Minor

OA patients develop very minor “wear & tear” and bone spur growths at the end of the knee joints. Minimum disruption. There is already 10% cartilage lost.


Stages of Osteoarthritis Graphics Stage 2

Stage 2:  Mild

In stage 2, diagnostic images or X-rays of knee joints will show more bone spur growth. People being experiencing joint pain. Typically, the area around the knee joint feels stiff and uncomfortable, particularly when sitting for an extended period, after rising in the morning, or after a workout. Joint-spacing is narrowing. The cartilage begins breaking down.

Stages of Osteoarthritis Graphics Stage 3

Stage 3:  Moderate

In stage 3, there is obvious erosion to the cartilage surface between bones and fibrillation narrows the gap between the bones. There are proteins and collagen fragments released into the synovial fluid as the disease progresses, wherein the bones develop spurs at the joints as it becomes rougher.

With the progression, there is obvious joint inflammation which cause frequent pain when walking, running, squatting, extending or kneeling. Along with joint stiffness after sitting for long or when waking up in the morning, there may be popping or snapping sounds when walking.


Stages of Osteoarthritis Graphics Stage 4

Stage 4:  Severe

In stage 4, the joint space between the bones is considerably reduced, causing the cartilage to wear off, leaving the joint stiff. The breakdown of cartilage leads to a chronic inflammatory response, with decreased synovial fluid that causes friction, greater pain and discomfort when walking or moving the joint. The advanced stage of the disease shows development of more spurs causing excruciating pain, which makes even everyday activities, including walking and descending stairs a challenge.


What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis and affects over 32 million people in the U.S. alone. Over time the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in your joints begins to deteriorate. Cartilage is a firm tissue that is naturally lubricated with synovial fluid and enables nearly frictionless motion in your knee joint.

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Eventually, the cartilage can wear completely down and bones can rub on each other. The slowly developing condition is called osteoarthritis. 

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Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and gets worse over time. Many people who develop the disease develop chronic pain. 

Osteoarthritis is often called the wear and tear disease. In addition to the breakdown of cartilage, osteoarthritis usually affects the entire joint. As a result, inflammation and pain occur. 

Osteoarthritis can be very debilitating as the pain and inflammation restrict people from the normal daily activities they enjoy. Joint pain and stiffness can become so severe that daily tasks become difficult.

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There are many factors that can increase your risk for osteoarthritis including:
  • Age – Risk increases with age
  • Gender – Women have a higher risk than men
  • Joint Injury
  • Overuse
  • Obesity
  • Weak muscles
  • Genes

While there is no cure for Osteoarthritis, our treatments can help you return to the daily activities you enjoy.

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Don’t let Osteoarthritis keep you from living an active, pain-free life!

What Is the Best Way to Treat Osteoarthritis?

Here are the good, better, and best ways to treat Osteoarthritis. We’ll start with the best!


Lubricating and Cushioning injectionsThis FDA-approved therapy consists of a series of precision-guided knee joint injections of a viscosupplement. The “visco” cushioning gel is an all-natural replacement (Hyaluronic Acid) for the depleted synovial fluid in your knee joint and acts as a “lubricant” and “shock absorber.”

    • Studies show that when doctors perform the treatments with live motion imagery, called Fluoroscopy, the effectiveness is significantly increased. Fluoroscopy guides doctors to precisely place the medicine in the knee joint where it will be most effective.
    • This treatment has been shown to be effective for many people suffering from osteoarthritis and can be repeated without the risks associated with NSAIDs, opioids, and surgery.

Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE)(GAE) is a safe and effective supplemental knee pain treatment for patients suffering from secondary knee pain due to prolonged knee inflammation. It is considered a treatment option for patients with residual knee pain after receiving knee injections.

    • Some patients with chronic inflammation develop tiny new blood vessels around the knee that are abnormal and cause pain. GAE has been shown to be very effective in eliminating residual arterial knee pain.
    • This cutting-edge treatment relieves pain in a completely different way than injections. It closes these blood vessels and also eliminates the associated painful nerve fibers. The GAE procedure is safe, virtual painless, and effective. Most patients don’t need to be retreated. With GAE, many patients experience improvement within just a few days.



Medications can help relieve osteoarthritis symptoms, primarily pain, but prolonged use can cause other health issues:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Recommended doses of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can help relieve osteoarthritis pain but prolonged use can cause stomach issues, cardiovascular problems, bleeding problems, and liver and kidney damage. NSAIDs gels, applied to the skin over the affected joint, have fewer side effects.
  • Acetaminophen –Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can help some people with osteoarthritis who have mild to moderate pain, but taking more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
  • Opioids – Although required by prescription, the use of opioids comes with serious risks of abuse and misuse. In addition to health risks side effects may include respiratory depression, confusion, tolerance, and physical dependence.


  • Physical therapy (PT) –PT exercises can help strengthen the muscles around your joint, increase your flexibility and reduce pain. Regular gentle exercise that you do on your own, such as swimming or walking, can be equally effective.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) –This therapy uses low-voltage electrical current to relieve pain. It can provide short-term relief from pain.


Knee Injections

  • Cortisone injections — Injections of a corticosteroid into your joint might relieve pain for a few weeks. The number of cortisone injections you can receive each year is generally limited because the medication can worsen joint damage over time.


  • Joint replacement – In joint replacement surgery, surgeons remove damaged joint surfaces and replace them with plastic and metal parts. There are risks associated with surgery including infection and blood clots. Healing takes time and artificial joints can wear out or come loose and might eventually need to be replaced.

Learn More About Our Non-Surgical Treatments for Osteoarthritis.

For many, our treatment is a scientifically proven alternative to painful, risky, expensive surgery.

If you qualify, our treatment  may alleviate your knee pain as it has for others. 


Detailed information is available in our downloadable brochure.


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