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What are the causes of osteoarthritis of the knee?

bike1Osteoarthritis of the knee is a condition affecting the knee and the gradual degradation of the cartilage within the joint. Cartilage is a tough and flexible tissue which acts as a cushion within a joint, therefore any removal of this can lead to bone on bone contact which can be painful and compromise mobility.

The condition varies in its severity and is best diagnosed early in order for treatment to commence and slow down its onset. It is a progressive condition and in serious cases can lead to a partial or full knee replacement being carried out.

There are a number of causes of osteoarthritis of the knee which each influence the degree by which the condition may progress.


Age is a factor in the onset of many conditions due to wear and tear of the body and OA is no different. The knee joint is responsible for transporting the weight of the body and over time the cartilage is likely to be worn away naturally through every day movement and exercise.

Each movement taken by the body, each step, every time you get up out of your chair, these all involve the knee joint with the cartilage cushioning the Femur and the weight of the body on top of it.

Previous injuries

If you have suffered an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury in the past then you are 50% more likely to develop OA within 10 years. Ligament damage in general can increase the likelihood of you showing symptoms of OA earlier than what you would typically expect and symptoms tend to progress faster than normal.

Damage to the ACL is one of the most serious of knee injuries you can incur with varying degrees of severity from a minor sprain to a complete rupture. In more serious cases surgery is often required to either repair the ligament or replace it by taking a graft from either the groin or hamstring.

Body weight

We know that age is a major factor in the onset of OA due to natural wear and tear, though the weight of an individual also has a factor in this as the heavier you are the more weight is being placed on the knee joint, thereby accelerating the condition.

One of the main treatment methods is exercise in order to lose weight which can help to alleviate discomfort, though it is a vicious cycle as exercise can cause pain in the knee, but failure to exercise can lead to increased weight which in turn also speeds up the degenerative process.

Family history

As with many conditions family history can increase the chances of you also suffering from a specific condition and OA is no different. In the event that the condition is prevalent within the family then it is advisable to be aware and in the event of experiencing symptoms to take action in order to address the condition early.