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The 4 Stages of Knee Osteoarthritis

Understanding the progression of knee osteoarthritis (OA) is crucial for effective management and treatment.

Here, we’ll delve into the four stages of knee OA, from the early signs to advanced degeneration, and explore effective treatment options available at Georgia Knee Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.

Contact us today to learn more, or continue reading below.

What are the 4 Stages of Osteoarthritis of the Knee?

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a degenerative joint condition that typically worsens over time. The four stages of knee OA help categorize the severity of the disease based on symptoms, joint damage, and functional limitations.

Early Stages of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Symptoms are relatively mild in the early stages of knee osteoarthritis, and joint damage is minimal. Let’s explore Stage 1 and Stage 2 to understand the progression of this condition and its impact on knee health.

Stage 1

In the first stage of knee OA, individuals may experience intermittent discomfort that often resolves with rest. The joint function may still be relatively normal, with occasional stiffness noted, particularly after prolonged periods of inactivity. X-rays at this stage may show minor irregularities, such as slight joint space narrowing, suggesting the onset of cartilage changes.

Stage 2

As knee OA progresses to Stage 2, symptoms become more noticeable, with increased joint stiffness after periods of inactivity, mild to moderate pain during or after activity, and occasional swelling. X-rays may reveal further joint space narrowing and minor bone spurs.

Later Stages of Knee Osteoarthritis

As knee osteoarthritis advances, it can lead to more significant joint damage and functional limitations. Let’s delve into Stage 3 and Stage 4 to understand the progressive nature of knee OA and the challenges associated with advanced stages of the condition.

Stage 3 Osteoarthritis of the Knee

In stage 3 knee osteoarthritis, the condition progresses to a moderate level, leading to increased pain, stiffness, and reduced joint function. Individuals may experience persistent discomfort, difficulty bending or straightening the knee thoroughly, and noticeable swelling. X-rays typically reveal significant joint space narrowing, visible bone spurs, and possible bone deformities.

Stage 4 Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Stage 4 knee osteoarthritis represents the most advanced stage of the condition, characterized by severe joint degeneration and substantial functional limitations. Patients often experience chronic pain, severe stiffness that persists even with rest, joint instability, and significant difficulty performing daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs. X-rays show extensive joint space narrowing, prominent bone spurs, severe bone deformities, and possible joint misalignment, indicating severe cartilage loss and structural changes within the knee joint.

Effective Osteoarthritis Treatment in Georgia

At Georgia Knee Institute, we specialize in non-surgical evaluation and advanced non-surgical osteoarthritis knee treatment for most stages.

Offering a knee replacement alternative in Atlanta, our approach focuses on relieving pain, improving joint function, and enhancing our patient’s overall quality of life without requiring invasive surgery or total knee replacement.

If you or a loved one are living with knee osteoarthritis, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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