Although there is more than one type of arthritis that can occur in the knee, the most common is Osteoarthritis (OA). OA affects over 30 million people worldwide. This particular issue occurs when cartilage of the joints wears away. Firm and slippery, cartridge allows for nearly friction-less joint motion. Without it, the bones begin to rub together.

Because Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, the breakdown of tissue doesn’t happen overnight. Similarly, the symptoms associated with arthritis of the knee also build slowly over time. OA isn’t reversible once it progresses. However, there are early warning signs means that can help pinpoint the problem early on and aid in managing difficult symptoms before they spiral out of control. Read on to discover the most common early warning signs of arthritis of the knee. Also, we’ve included a few key ways to combat these indicators without surgery.

Early Warning Sign #1: Pain

Pain is the number one indicator that arthritis might be set up in the knee joints. Most people with early warning signs of arthritis of the knee only pay attention when it begins to hurt. How the pain presents itself varies from person to person, body to body. Your knees may hurt while you are actually moving (i.e., while walking or running. Or they may only ache after you sit down. Some people’s knees feel tender only when pressure is applied. Finding ways to relieve arthritis pain naturally is essential, especially as the disease progresses.

Early Warning Sign #2: Stiffness and Loss of Flexibility

Another common symptom that often occurs alongside pain where arthritis of the knee is present is stiffness. When you’ve been inactive for a long period of time,  your joints may feel stiff. Especially after a good night’s sleep. You might also notice that your range of motion is limited. This loss of flexibility can make it seem not only uncomfortable but also downright impossible to move normally.

Early Warning Sign #3: A Grating Sensation

OA presents itself differently in different joints of the body. Another warning sign of arthritis of the knee is a scraping/grating feeling. This grating sensation usually happens when moving your knee. This is an indication of arthritis of the knee that has progressed since this ‘grating’ comes from bone scraping against bone.

Early Warning Sign #4 Crepitus

Along with a grating sensation, knees affected by OA might also make a cracking or popping sound when the knee is extended. Although most of the time, crepitus is harmless, it is an indicator of a bigger problem such as arthritis of the knee or Patellofemoral pain syndrome and shouldn’t be ignored, especially when other indicators are present.

Early Warning Sign #5: Difficulty with Everyday Tasks

Although other conditions of the knee such as tendonitis can cause knee pain from time to time, the symptoms associated with arthritis of the knee can make even simple tasks such as walking to the mailbox or climbing the stairs difficult.  If you find that everyday activities that once seemed second nature are becoming difficult to manage because of your knee pain, arthritis of the knee may be the culprit.

What Can Be Done?

If you think that you recognize any of these early warning signs of arthritis of the knee, it is important to consult a doctor or a specialist who can make an official diagnosis. Then you must become proactive in finding options that can slow the progression of arthritis, strengthen your body, and maximize your mobility. Successful non-surgical options include:

  • Exercise and weight loss (lifestyle medication)
  • Physical therapy
  • Precision guided injections

By noticing the early warning signs of arthritis of the knee early on, you may be able to avoid expensive and painful medication regiments and surgery.