Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of cartilage pathology. There are lots of other causes e.g trauma, infection, inflammatory joint disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis as well as other lesser known pathologies.
People usually think that it is “wear and tear” and part of ageing. To a certain extent that is true but if it was, then we’d all have arthritis in old age but that doesn’t happen. When you look at the difference in cartilage structure between ageing and OA, there is a difference. This is summarised nicely in the table below:
Essentially, what appears to be happening in OA is an up-regulation and increased activity of enzymes that break down cartilage (MMPs) and down-regulation of the tissue inhibitors of these enzymes (TIMMPs). This leads to a breakdown of the cartilage.
The treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) and other degenerative joint disease depends on the severity of the problem.
Less severe osteoarthritis (Grades I-III) can be managed well with conservative measures, and our aim is to always try and preserve you own knee joint for as long as possible.