Man walking up stairs with pain in knee

​​​​​Knee arthritis

Stiffness, swelling or pain in your knees could all be signs of arthritis of the knee. Arthritis, or joint inflammation, is a common condition that causes pain and limited movement. It’s typically a chronic (ongoing) disease, but can also come on suddenly. It can be treated but not cured. 

The most common types of arthritis of the knee are osteoarthritis caused by wear and tear on the knee joints and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks multiple joints in your body. 

Knee arthritis symptoms

There is a gradual increase of pain over time with weight bearing activities such as walking and standing.  

Symptoms of arthritis of the knee include:

  • Difficulty walking, climbing steps or standing after sitting

  • Instability of the knee joint

  • Pain or swelling in one or both knees

  • Stiffness in the knee joint 

  • Warmth and redness in one or both knees

Knee arthritis diagnosis

The nationally recognized orthopedic experts at The Christ Hospital Health Network use several methods to determine if you have arthritis of the knee. Your visit with a doctor begins with a thorough medical history and physical exam of your injured knee.

You may have an X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

If further tests are needed they may include:

  • Blood tests – to evaluate for inflammatory or autoimmune arthritis.

  • Joint aspiration—a procedure to remove fluid from the space around the knee joint using a needle and syringe.

Knee arthritis treatment

There is no known cure for arthritis. Doctors at The Christ Hospital Health Network work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan that takes your needs, general health and goals into account. We focus on limiting pain and inflammation to improve your knee function. 

Treatments for arthritis of the knee may include:

  • Heat and cold—to help manage pain and inflammation.

  • Injection of medication into the knee – for example, a corticosteroid injection, Hyaluronic acid therapy—or biologic injections such as platelet rich plasma or stem cells.

  • Medications—pain relievers like acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory treatments like corticosteroids.

  • Brace—to protect your knees from further injury.

  • Surgery—depends on the severity of the problem and may include arthroscopy or a partial or total knee joint replacement.

  • TENS therapy—to blocks pain signals and change pain perception.

If you are dealing with the pain of a swollen and inflamed knee joint, our experts can diagnose and treat your symptoms to minimize pain and maximize movement.  

Find a knee specialist near you.