Stages of Osteoarthritis in Knee

Osteoarthritis (OA) is divided into five stages: 0 is designated to a regular, healthy knee. The greatest stage, 4, is assigned to severe OA. OA that has actually become this advanced is likely causing substantial pain and interruption to joint motion. 

Stages Of Osteoarthritis In Knee

Stage 0

Stage 0 OA is categorized as “typical” knee health. The knee joint shows no signs of OA, and the joint functions without any problems or pain.


No treatment is needed for stage 0 OA.

Stage 1

A person with stage 1 OA is showing very minor bone spur growth. (Bone stimulates are boney growths that typically establish where bones meet each other in the joint.) Likely, an individual with stage 1 OA is not experiencing any pain or discomfort as a result of the very minor wear on the parts of the joint.osteoarthritis of the knee


Without external symptoms of OA to treat, lots of physicians will not need patients to go through any treatments for stage 1 OA. Nevertheless, if you have a predisposition to OA or are at an increased risk, your doctor may advise you take supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, or start a workout regimen to relieve any minor symptoms of OA and slow the progression of the arthritis.

Stage 2

Stage 2 OA of the knee is considered a “mild” stage of the condition. X-rays of knee joints in this stage will expose higher bone spur growth, however the cartilage likely remains at a healthy size– the area in between the bones is typical, and the bones are not rubbing or scraping one another. Synovial fluid is likewise normally still present at adequate levels for regular joint motion. Nevertheless, this is the stage where people may first begin experiencing symptoms– pain after a long day of walking or running, greater tightness in the joint when it’s not used for numerous hours, tenderness when kneeling or flexing.


Talk with your doctor about your possible signs of OA. They might have the ability to identify and identify the condition at this early stage. If so, the two of you can develop a strategy to prevent the condition from advancing quickly.

Numerous different therapies are advised to assist relieve the pain and discomfort caused by this mild stage of OA. These therapies are mainly nonpharmacologic– you do not need to take medicine for symptom relief. For obese patients, the best suggestions is to slim down through diet and exercise. Even people who are not obese will take advantage of workout– low-impact aerobics and strength training can help reinforce the muscles around the joint, which increases stability and decreases the probability of extra joint damage.

Secure your joint from effort by avoiding kneeling, squatting, or jumping. Braces and wraps can help support your knee. Shoe inserts can help straighten your leg and ease a few of the pressure you put on your joint.

Some patients may need medication for mild pain relief. Medicines work best when they’re used in combination with nonpharmacological therapies, too. For example, if you have to take NSAIDs or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain relief, it’s suggested you likewise attempt exercising, reducing weight, and securing your knee from unneeded stress. Long-term therapy with these medicines may cause other problems: NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcers, cardiovascular problems, and kidney and liver damage. Taking bigger dosages of acetaminophen may cause liver damage.

Stage 3

Stage 3 OA is classified as “moderate” OA. The cartilage between bones is showing obvious damage, and the area in between the bones is narrowing. People with stage 3 OA of the knee are most likely experiencing frequent pain when walking, running, bending, or kneeling. They likewise may experience joint tightness after sitting for extended periods of time or when getting up in the morning. Joint swelling might exist after prolonged periods of movement, too.


If nonpharmacological therapies do not work or no more offer the pain relief they when did, your doctor may suggest cortisone injections. Cortisone, a steroid produced naturally by your body, has been shown to ease pain caused by OA when injected near the impacted joint. The effects of a cortisone shot wear away in about two months. Nevertheless, you and your doctor must take a look at making use of cortisone shots carefully. Research shows long-term use of the steroid can in fact aggravate joint damage.

If non-prescription NSAIDs or acetaminophen are no longer effective, prescription pain medication, such as codeine, oxycodone, and propoxyphene, might help ease the increased pain typical in stage 3 OA. On a short-term basis, these medications can be used to treat moderate to severe pain. However, narcotic medicines are not advised for long-term use due to the risk of increased tolerance and possible reliance. Side effects of these medicines include nausea, sleepiness, and fatigue.

Patients who have not reacted to conservative treatments for OA– physical therapy, weight loss, use of NSAIDs and analgesics– may be good prospects for viscosupplementation. Viscosupplements, intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid, are a fairly brand-new type of treatment for knee arthritis. A normal treatment with a viscosupplement needs 3 to five injections of hyaluronic acid over 3 to 5 weeks’ time. (One medication is readily available as a single-dose injection.) The results of a viscosupplementation injection are not immediate. In reality, it might take numerous weeks for the full impact of the treatment to be felt, however remedy for symptoms normally lasts six months.

Stage 4

Stage 4 OA is considered “severe.” Individuals in stage 4 OA of the knee experience terrific pain and discomfort when walking or moving the joint. That’s since the joint space between bones is dramatically decreased– the cartilage is almost completely gone, leaving the joint stiff and potentially immobile. The synovial fluid is reduced drastically, and it no more helps in reducing the friction amongst the moving parts of a joint.


Bone adjustment surgery, or osteotomy, is one choice for individuals with severe OA of the knee. During this surgery, a cosmetic surgeon cuts the bone above or listed below the knee to reduce it, lengthen it, or change its positioning. This surgery shifts the weight of your body far from the points of the bone where the greatest bone spur growth and bone damage has occurred.

Overall knee replacement, or arthroplasty, is a last resort for most patients with severe OA of the knee. During this procedure, a surgeon eliminates the harmed joint and replaces it with a plastic or metal device. Side effects of this surgery include infections at the cut point out and blood clots. Recovery from this procedure takes a number of weeks and needs substantial physical and occupational therapy. It is possible that replacing your arthritic knee will not be completion of your OA knee problems. You might require extra surgical treatments and even another knee replacement during your life time.

Talk to Your Doctor About Osteoarthritis Pain

Prior to the Visit

You need to prepare to talk with your doctor about your pain well prior to reaching their workplace. Making a list of things you want to speak about during the go to can help keep you on track.

Your list needs to include whether something else could be triggering your pain, what types of tests you might need to go through, and what treatments may reduce your pain. Other subjects include whether there are options to the mainstream tests and treatments and where you can discover more information.

Consider keeping notes about your pain for a minimum of a few days prior to your go to. Things you need to tape include:

  • what time of day your knee hurts
  • under what situations the pain begins
  • what the pain feels like during each episode
  • where on or around your knee it seems to hurt each time
  • for how long the discomfort lasts
  • what, if anything, do you do to treat it yourself, and how efficient are those treatments
  • how severe the pain is

Something to keep in mind: Doctors often use a 10-point scale when they question a patient about the severity of their pain. Milder pain is lower on the scale, and as pain worsens the number on the scale boosts.

Bringing a relied on pal or relative with you to the visit can help in a great deal of methods. Beyond the psychological value of having actually an enjoyed one with you, this person can likewise advise you of indicate raise or ask questions you might have forgotten. They can also help you remember essential details supplied by the doctor like medication names, dose, and follow-up info.

During the Visit

Your time with your doctor may be restricted, so preparing these things ahead of time can help you get the most out of your check out.

When the time comes for the actual check out, it’s going to be everything about questions: yours and your doctor’s.

Answer your doctor’s questions as properly as possible, even if you feel uncomfortable with the subject. Anything you tell your doctor can aid with your treatment.

Ask every question you need to, and don’t feel that you’re wasting your doctor’s time.

When you ask a concern, make certain you get a clear answer and that you comprehend completely what that answer means. Ask for information if you do not comprehend. Remember if you have to. This isn’t a time to be shy.

The causes of OA aren’t fully comprehended, and there is no remedy. However treatments can help you deal with the condition. Some of them can be as simple as a change in lifestyle, while others include medications or perhaps surgery.

Being ready and talking frankly with your doctor can help figure out the best routine for you.

How is osteoarthritis of the knee identified?

Diagnosing OA is not always simple. As pointed out earlier, X-rays might not always get problems with the knee.

If somebody is having knee pain, their doctor will gather information on their personal and family medical history, carry out a complete physical exam, and order unique diagnostic tests.

The patient will be asked to explain any symptoms such as when pain is experienced. During the physical examination, the doctor will take a look at the joints and test their general variety of movement. They will pay very close attention to any areas that hurt, painful, or swollen.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans or checks on the fluid in the joints may likewise be used to spot any early signs of OA. In some instances, blood tests might be valuable in diagnosis to rule out other illness such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

How can osteoarthritis of the knee be prevented?

OA was originally described as a condition where the joints wore out over time. The disease was considered to be unavoidable.

It is now known that OA is not an unavoidable part of aging but due to a combination of factors. Much of these can be changed or avoided, assisting lower the risk of OA of the knee.

Preventing overusing joints and preserving a healthy weight plays a significant function in preventing OA of the knee. Being overweight puts additional pressure on the knees. In time, this included weight uses down the cushion in between the joints much faster.

OA of the knee can be hard to treat if people do not seek help until it has actually reached innovative stages such as 3 or 4. At this point, the damage is irreparable and drastic treatment such as surgery is frequently the only option.

The symptoms and development of OA can differ from person to individual. People with any OA symptoms ought to see a doctor for tests and treatment.


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