top of page


What is knee osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis of the knee)?


The knee joint consists of femurs and lower legs. The joint ends have a surface coating with cartilage, which has the task of giving stability and sliding ability to the joint. When we load a joint, the cartilage wears out. The body is constantly working to maintain the cartilage. In osteoarthritis, the maintenance is not in balance with the wear and the cartilage then becomes thinner and often uneven. Over time, bone deposits form around the edge of the joint, which contributes to the reduced mobility. It is a bit unclear why we get osteoarthritis. You can see that genetics play a role, so if mother or father has / had osteoarthritis, the risk is increased. Obesity and inactivity are also risk factors for getting knee osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis of the knee). Likewise if you have previously injured the knee, for example meniscus injuries, cruciate ligament injury or had a fracture that reached the joint. No gender difference can be seen. Most people with osteoarthritis are over 45 years old and it is more common with increasing age. In everyday life, we often refer to this as a wear and tear in the knee, but the medical term is gonarthrosis and is one of the most common places we get osteoarthritis.


Symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee


Common symptoms in the beginning of knee osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis of the knee) are pain when standing and walking. You often have increased stiffness and pain in the morning, which can decrease after a while when you get started.  By far the most common is that you get pain on the inside of the knee. Other common symptoms are swelling and heat increase in the knee. It can crackle in the knee when, for example, you sit / stand up. Often the problems come in waves. Either linked to straining the knee too much, and sometimes even without a clear reason. Medically, we call it because you get a relapse in osteoarthritis.

There is no direct link between how much trouble you have and how thin the cartilage is. Some may have a lot of pain / stiffness but it is barely visible on the X-ray. It is not uncommon for it to be this way at the very beginning of the disease course.

Treatment of gonarthrosis


When we physiotherapists meet patients with knee osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis of the knee), it is important that we form an opinion about what causes increased discomfort and what can alleviate the discomfort. This is to make it easier for us to get to the right level with training and possible treatment. We perform an examination of the knee, this also includes a check of the hip, ankle and muscles. Balance and coordination usually deteriorate as the patient moves less due to their problems and this is also tested.

If the patient moves a lot, it is important that we can identify if there is something in the current activity that is disturbing the knee. If the patient is inactive, it is important to start training that does not increase the problems in the knee. Together with the patient, we put together and try out suitable  rehab training . The goal of this is to strengthen the muscles around the knee, optimize balance, coordination and mobility in the knee. In the long run, studies show that exercise, together with possible weight loss, are the single most important measures to improve the knee. The patient is also informed in general about how osteoarthritis works and we provide tips to make everyday life easier.

If the knee turns out to be so easily irritated that it becomes difficult to get to exercise, or if it is markedly swollen and hot already when the patient comes to the new visit, it may be relevant to refer to a doctor for a decision on any anti-inflammatory treatment. Doctors also take a position on other investigations, such as X-rays. For us, in most cases it is not important that the X-ray is done before treatment / rehab can begin. We start from the position the patient is in with the knee and adapt the effort accordingly, with good results.



Osteoarthritis of the knee is a chronic disease, which means that you can not get rid of it. You can almost always alleviate the discomfort, but not get rid of it. They apply to the patient to find a good approach to their affected knee. Here we can be of great help. Only a few patients get an aggressive osteoarthritis that can lead to the condition becoming unsustainable. In these cases, a knee joint prosthesis may be needed via an orthopedist. It usually gets really good after a long rehabilitation period.


Physiotherapy at Alta Vita Physiotherapy

bottom of page