Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis
There are multiple factors that lead to Knee Osteoarthritis. It’s more common if:
You’re aged 40 and above
As Knee Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, the condition worsens over time. Cartilage, a rubbery tissue that acts as a cushion between bones, naturally deteriorates and disappears with age. In a way, your body’s natural shock absorbers are wearing out.
Your parents or siblings have it
Osteoarthritis tends to run in the family, especially if you have genetic joint defects. According to a study on genetic markers in osteoarthritis, hip, knee, hand and spine arthritis have been reported to run in the family. In fact, if your parent has had a total knee replacement surgery, you are much more likely to develop worsening arthritis in the knee.
You’re a woman
Female bodies are designed to give birth and the tendons in their lower body are more elastic than males to accommodate pregnancy. This results in looser joints and when joints have less stability, they’re more prone to injury. Also, as female hips are wider than their knees, their knee joints are not aligned as straight as males. The alignment of a woman’s body leads to a higher rate of knee injuries, and injuries can lead to osteoarthritis later in life.
You’ve previously had a knee injury
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, damaging a joint increases your chances of developing arthritis 7 times. Almost any sport can cause a fracture or injure a ligament or tendon. A bone fracture in your knee causes a break in the gliding surface, and even when the alignment is restored through surgery or a temporary cast, you’re more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the future. This applies when there’s injury to a ligament or tendon too.
You constantly overexert your knees
If your profession involves long hours of physical labour or constant pressure by kneeling, squatting or climbing, you are more likely to develop pain and stiffness in your knees. Repetitive straining of the joints can cause the cartilage to wear down prematurely.
You are overweight
Excess body weight increases the risk of osteoarthritis as it places extra stress on your knees, speeding up the rate of degeneration. Every extra kg of weight on the body places an extra 4kg of load on the joints, especially your knees, hip and back. It also damages the cartilage, which is the iconic sign of osteoarthritis.