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Osteoarthritis of the knee

Osteoarthritis of the knee is very common. This is probably because your knee has to take extreme stresses, twists and turns. Osteoarthritis can affect the main surfaces of your knee joint and also the cartilage underneath your kneecap (patella).

  • You’re most likely to feel pain at the front and sides of your knee.
  • If you have severe osteoarthritis, your knees may become bent and bowed.
  • Your knee joint may also become unstable so that it gives way when you put weight on it – this is usually because of muscle weakness in the thigh but sometimes because of damage to the ligaments.

Who gets osteoarthritis of the knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee is twice as common in women as in men and it usually affects both knees. It causes most problems from the late 50s onwards. A number of factors can increase the risk of osteoarthritis of the knee, for example:

  • being overweight
  • having nodal osteoarthritis (particularly in women)
  • an earlier sporting injury (such as a torn meniscus or ligament)
  • an operation to remove torn cartilage (meniscectomy).


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