Osteoarthritis knee pain usually comes on gradually over a number of years.
It is caused by thinning and "wear and tear" of the knee cartilage and bones. Knee arthritis affects more than 1 in 10 people.
The symptoms of knee arthritis vary from person to person and the disease progresses at different rates in different people.
Knee osteoarthritis can be classified into four different stages, initial, mild, moderate and severe. Often mild arthritis will stay at that level, however, sometimes it progresses.
Here we will look at how the different stages of knee osteoarthritis are classified, how they differ from each other and the common symptoms at each stage. To find out more about arthritis, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options, visit the knee arthritis guide.
There are two ways of categorising osteoarthritis knee pain:
Surprisingly, there is often very little correlation between the two. Some people demonstrate advanced arthritis on x-ray but have minimal symptoms, whereas other people suffering from a great deal of osteoarthritis knee pain may only show mild changes on x-ray.
It is much more important to concentrate on your symptoms, rather than what your x-ray shows.
Knee arthritis progresses through four different stages:
In the very early stages, knee arthritis is often classed as being "doubtful", and people often don't notice any symptoms at all at this stage.
The technical term for this stage is Early Degenerative Changes. In the early stages of osteoarthritis of the knee, again, there may be no significant symptoms at all.
There are a number of treatment options that can help reduce symptoms and stop progression of the knee arthritis at this stage.
The technical term for this stage is Moderately Advanced Arthritis.
Again, there are a whole range of treatment options including specially designed knee braces, injections and exercises that can help at this stage - visit the arthritis treatment section to find out more.
The technical term for this stage is Advanced Arthritis.
When this happens, the best course of action for osteoarthritis knee pain is usually a knee replacement.
For hints and tips on overcoming osteoarthritis knee pain or for more
information on how to tell if you have arthritis of the knee, visit these sections:
Arthritis Book: Everything you need to know in a handy book
Arthritis Overview: Introduction to Arthritis
Causes: What causes arthritis?
Symptoms & Diagnosis: The symptoms of OA and how is it diagnosed
Treatment Options: Whole range of ways to treat arthritis knee pain
Diet For Arthritis: Which foods to avoid and which foods can help
Knee Replacements: Replacing an arthritic knee with a new one
Page Last Updated: March 14, 2020
Next Review Due: March 14, 2022