Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease of the joints in which the cartilage which cushions the bones and absorbs the shock wears down, causing pain, stiffness and swelling around the knee joint, in over period we see a bone on bone phenomenon.
According to Indian data millions of patients are suffering from OA knee with a prevalence rate of 25 to 35% of which women are more common than men(C p PAL IJO 2016, 10.4103/0019-5413.189608)
Making it one of the most common arthritis in India, though it is age relegated but nearly 18to20% of arthritis is from injury to abjoint or posttraumatic arthritis and this is not only restricted to athletes layman and general public are also not spared the trauma of it which happens due to repetitive stress injury, over weight and genetics.
We need to understand that our knee is just not bone and cartilage but a complex structure formed of ligaments, soft tissue, tendons, nerves and fat and any event which can destabilize or injure any one of the structure can lead to early arthritis in the younger age group the main components which trigger these events are.
A. Injury to the ligaments
B. Injury or damage to the cartilage
C. Meniscal tear or tear of the labrum
D. early arthroscopy procedures in the young adults which increases risk of OA manifold.
Recent paper in Journal of Athletics Training highlights how small injures to the joints can get blown up into full arthritis over the period, eg a small rent in cartilage or meniscus can lead to bone swelling and can in turn put more pressure on the spot leading to multiple rents in cartilage and end up damaging the surrounding ligaments and joint structure, the single biggest issue which we can fix and can prevent early arthritis in knee is instability, which is easily diagnosed on dynamic use scanning and education of few points.
The person suffering from popping sensation and cracking in knee sounds but no pain is a potential arthritic patient in long run and should be evaluated by a regenerative and musculoskeletal physician who understands instability of joints better.
We see a lot of patients with these instability issue and opt for stress mask USG to identify the instability and the loose ligaments, if you had some knee injury in recent times and suffering from such issues we opt for PRP for ligaments to strengthen and tighten the ligaments and cartilage to provide better stability to the joint in order to prevent OA later stages.