Osteoarthritis affects millions, what are the symptoms and causes?


Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting tens of millions of people worldwide. It is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of joint cartilage. The break down and deterioration of cartilage causes the bones to rub together resulting in extreme pain. OA rusting from “wear and tear” is the most common reason individuals need to undergo knee replacement surgery.

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain – during movement
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness –usually after periods of inactivity
  • Lack of flexibility – inability to move through full range of motion
  • Grating sensation
  • Bone spurs – small, hard lumps felt around the joint

Knee osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that usually worsens over time. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, now may be the time to see a knee specialist.

The Cause of Knee Osteoarthritis

Your knee joint is formed by the intersection of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin knee_1bone) and patella (knee cap). These bones form three “compartments” or sections:

  1. Lateral compartment (outer half of your knee)
  2. Medial compartment (inner half of your knee)
  3. Patellofemoral compartment (behind the knee cap)

In a normal functioning knee, each bone glides smoothly against the other on a layer of cartilage that covers the ends of the bone. Cartilage protects the bones while allowing the joint to glide smoothly. It also acts as a shock absorber. In a knee joint affected by osteoarthritis, the smooth cartilage lining on the inside of the joint has worn away.


Knee ligaments are what link the bones. Ligaments include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).

The health and stability of your ligaments can be important determining factors in whether one knee treatment option is better for you than another.

A partial knee replacement is an option for people who have osteoarthritis in one or two compartments of the knee. A total knee replacement is an option for people with osteoarthritis in all three compartments.

Conformis™ offers products for osteoarthritis in one, two, or all three compartments of the knee along with a unique approach to resurfacing.

Learn more about knee replacement and other knee treatment options.