How your knee joint functions?
The healthy Knee: the healthy knee joint is a remarkable mechanism. It is formed by the bottom end of the femur (thigh bone), the top end of the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (knee cap). A healthy knee joint has cartilage between the bones that acts as padding. This padding helps assure a gliding movement of the knee that is both effortless and smooth. The healthy knee joint also has a joint capsule which houses the synovial membrane. This membrane produces lubricating fluid which contributes to the smooth movement of the knee.
The human knee is designed to withstand a lifetime of stressful activity. However, sometimes arthritis intrudes, interfering with the knee’s ability to cushion the body from stress, and eventually causing the pain that dramatically erodes your quality of life.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is not a symptom of “just getting old”. It is a degenerative or inflammatory disease of the joints that are not necessarily part of the normal aging process. Indeed, some patients with arthritis present symptoms in their 20s and 30s.
Although there are several types of arthritis, one of the most common is called osteoarthritis. It affects millions of people in the world today. Arthritis causes permanent deterioration of the cartilage layers that shield the joint from the impact. Because cartilage cannot repair or replenish itself, it begins to crack, wear away and eventually disappear. The cushion your knee requires to absorb stress is gone, resulting in bone-on-bone contact. The bones in advanced cases may be so rough and pitted from grinding against each other that they form bone spurs, which often cause stiffness. In the first stage is osteoarthritis, your knee may feel stiff and swollen. Later, you may feel pain and maybe notice that one leg seems shorter or more crooked than the other. Eventually, your mobility may become limited and you may need to alter your lifestyle to accommodate your sore, arthritic knee. If you are overweight or have a malalignment, the extra stress on your knee can accelerate the damage.
Regardless of your type of arthritis, you may have already had to curb or quit the activities you enjoy. This is partly why arthritis can make people “feel” old, even though they are still in the prime of life. But there is hope you have options.