According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by the year 2040, more than 78 million adults, 18 years or older, will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That is more than 25 percent of the American population. Many of those diagnosed will be suffering with arthritis of the knees.
Knee arthritis develops when there is wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the knee. This friction on the knee joint can result in stiffness and pain, and often overall disability. The arthritis itself can be anywhere in the knee or on just one side. It is often found on the inner knee. Pain can range from mild to severe, with pain coming and going. It is estimated that slightly more than 10 percent of Americans who are 65 years of age or older suffer with knee arthritis.
What causes knee arthritis?
A knee pain doctor in Reading, PA understands that although there is no specific cause of knee arthritis, there are certain factors that have been found to possibly contribute to the condition.
· Age: While arthritis isn’t caused by aging, a person’s age does play a potential factor in whether or not a person has arthritis, especially for those over 65. As a person ages, their muscles become weaker and bones become more brittle. The body also has a harder time healing itself. This can – and often does – mean that the bone and cartilage are more prone to wear and tear or damage and the body less able to heal these issues. This can lead to knee arthritis.
· Gender: Research has shown that women are more prone to developing arthritis in the knee than men are. It is believed the reason for this is the way hormone levels affect bone and cartilage.
· Weight: Data shows that people who suffer from knee arthritis are three time more likely to be overweight. This is because the more a person weighs, the more intense of an impact is put on the body’s bones. This constant force wears away the cartilage. Keep in mind, however, people who are thin can also develop arthritis in the knee.
· Genetics: Although there is much more research that needs to be done, current research does show a link between arthritis and genetics. For example, the quality and quantity of a person’s cartilage is in their genes. It is believed that genetics play a factor for more than half of the people who have knee arthritis.
· Prior Injuries: If a person has injured their knee joint in the past, they are more likely to develop arthritis in their knee. This is because injuries cause changes to the cartilage and bones. For example, a fractured bone will heal, but it never goes back to the way it was prior to the fracture.
· Flat Feet: There are many doctors who think that if a person has flat feet, they have a higher risk of developing arthritis in the knee. The reasoning behind this factor is that because a flat foot has an altered position, this places extra wear and tear on the knee joint.
Thanks to Premier Osteoarthritis Center of Pennsylvania for their insight into knee pain and arthritis.