Osteoarthrosis of the knee joint first degree treatment, causes, symptoms of the disease

With osteoarthrosis of 1 degree of severity, pain in the knee joint is quite rare, movements are limited slightly. A person takes uncomfortable sensations after physical exertion for ordinary muscle fatigue, so he does not go to the doctor. This leads to the progression of the disease, its spread to healthy bone and cartilage. If pain in the knee appears more often 2-3 times a month, then you need to seek medical help.

Features of osteoarthrosis of the 1st degree

Osteoarthrosis is a degenerative-dystrophic pathology that initially affects the cartilage of the knee joint. In the absence of medical intervention, the bones are gradually deformed, provoking partial or complete immobilization of the knee. With osteoarthrosis of the 1st degree, the changes that occur in the structures of the knee are reversible. Therapy at the initial stage of its development can do without even using pharmacological drugs. It is enough to reduce the load on the joint and regular physical therapy.

Causes of the disease

Primary is called osteoarthrosis, which develops due to a decrease in the functional endurance of hyaline cartilage. As the body ages, regeneration processes proceed more slowly. Even with minor microtrauma, tissues do not have time to recover in a timely manner. The situation is exacerbated by a decrease in the production of collagen in the body – the building material of ligaments and tendons.

Secondary osteoarthritis occurs against the background of existing cartilage damage. They appear due to damage to the knee joint by gout, rheumatoid, reactive, psoriatic arthritis. The development of osteoarthritis is provoked by injuries, endocrine and hormonal pathologies, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive physical exertion.

Development mechanism

Normally, the articular surfaces of the tibia and femur are covered by dense hyaline cartilage. Its main function is to reduce the friction force during flexion and extension of the knee joint, and to reduce shock loads when walking. Under the influence of external or internal provoking factors, blood circulation in small intraosseous vessels is disturbed, through which nutrients enter the cartilage. It becomes dry, rough, loses its ability to retain moisture necessary for restoration. Now the cartilaginous surfaces do not smoothly shift, but “cling” to each other. Permanent microtrauma leads to thinning of the cartilage.

Symptoms of pathology

Diseases at the initial stage may not be clinically apparent at all. As it progresses, the first uncomfortable sensations arise when climbing or descending stairs, after running, intense sports training or long walks.

At the doctor’s appointment, patients complain of some stiffness of movements immediately after waking up, a feeling of “tightening” on the outside of the knee. These sensations quickly disappear and are rarely accompanied by soreness.

No external changes in the joint are observed. Only occasionally does the knee look a little swollen. Swelling of the skin may indicate synovitis – inflammation of the synovial membrane. Other with its specific features are a feeling of heaviness and limited mobility.

Methods of diagnosis

The grounds for diagnosis are patient complaints, the results of an external examination and radiography. This instrumental study is the most informative, but with grade 1 osteoarthrosis, characteristic signs may be absent. At the final stage of the disease of the X-ray stage 1, single osteophytes, narrowing of the joint space and compaction of the subchondral zone are detected.

If the X-ray images are not informative, MRI, CT, ultrasound can be prescribed. Cartilaginous tissues, ligament-tendon apparatus, blood vessels, nerve trunks are well visualized in the images obtained.

Differential diagnosis is performed to exclude damage to the knee joint with arthritis, synovitis, bursitis, tendonitis, tendovaginitis.

How to treat osteoarthrosis of the 1st degree

Osteoarthrosis of the 1st degree responds well to conservative treatment, especially in young patients. Physiotherapeutic and massage procedures, exercise therapy, drugs for the restoration of damaged cartilage are used, adjustments to the diet are recommended. Patients are prescribed wearing elastic knee pads during the day to reduce joint stress.

Medication Therapy

Since the arising pains do not differ in severity, analgesics in the form of tablets or injection solutions are rarely used. To eliminate weak discomfort, patients are prescribed ointments, gels, creams, balms for local application to the knee joint. Therapeutic groups may include drugs of the following groups:

  • means for improving blood circulation – Pentoxifylline, Xanthinol nicotinate;
  • preparations with a complex of B vitamins – Milgamma, Combilipen, Neuromultivit;
  • balanced complexes of vitamins and microelements – Supradin, Complivit, Vitrum, Centrum, Multitabs.

Necessarily appointed systemic chondroprotectors Teraflex, Structum, Arthra, Don, Chondroxide for long term administration (from 3 months). The active ingredients of these products stimulate the partial restoration of damaged cartilage.

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External means for the treatment of osteoarthrosis of the knee 1 degreeTherapeutic action
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Voltaren, Fastum, Arthrosilen, Nise, Ketorol, Diclofenac, Indomethacin)They stop inflammatory processes, reduce the severity of pain, stimulate resorption of edema.
Ointments with a warming effect (Viprosal, Finalgon, Apizartron, Nayatoks)Eliminate morning swelling and stiffness of movements, eliminate pain

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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Operative intervention

With osteoarthrosis of 1 severity, surgery is not required. Arthroplasty, aimed at restoring the size, shape and correspondence of the surfaces of the knee joint to each other, is performed with multiple bone growths (osteophytes). For this stage of the disease, such changes are not characteristic.

Dosed physical activity is the most effective method of treating osteoarthrosis at the initial stage of development. The main tasks of exercise therapy are strengthening the knee muscles and improving the blood supply of its structures with nutrients. A set of exercises is compiled by a physical therapy physician immediately diagnosed. Be sure to take into account the patient’s age and physical fitness, general health.

Most often, the following exercises are recommended for patients:

  • flexion and extension of the legs in the knee joints in the supine position;
  • imitation of riding a bicycle while lying down or sitting, with emphasis on back arms;
  • in a standing position, wave your legs back and forth, from side to side;
  • Shallow squats
  • walking around the room with knees raised high.

The appearance of even a slight painful sensation is a signal of cessation of exercise. You can start training only after an hour break. During the exercise, the movements should be smooth, slightly slowed down, without jerking.


At the beginning of treatment, about 5 sessions of classical massage are performed. When they are used, all traditional massage movements are used – kneading, rubbing, popping, vibration. To improve the well-being of the patient, vacuum massage, including hardware massage, is also used. Before installing plastic or glass jars, air is removed from them for better contact with the skin. This stimulates a rush of blood to the knee, the production of bioactive substances with an analgesic effect. The therapeutic effect of the procedure is enhanced when the massage therapist begins to smoothly shift the banks, perform kneading and grinding them.

Manual therapy

To help a chiropractor resort to osteoarthritis, accompanied by increased muscle tension. The doctor acts on the spasmodic skeletal muscles with the fingers. Muscles relax, which improves blood circulation and lymph flow.

In addition to common massage movements, the chiropractor uses techniques of superficial and deep palpation.

Since the development of osteoarthritis is associated with a deterioration in the blood supply to the tissues, the goal of the diet is to restore optimal blood circulation. To do this, exclude foods with a high fat content, which are deposited by cholesterol blocks on the walls of blood vessels, from the diet. It is necessary to refuse semi-finished products, fast food, when cooking use vegetable oils, not margarine or cooking oil. The daily menu should definitely include fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products, cereals.

Traditional methods of treatment

After the main treatment during the rehabilitation period, patients are allowed to use folk remedies. These are ointments, grindings, infusions, decoctions that accelerate the cleansing of the joint from the decay products of tissues and mineral salts, which have a soft warming effect. What folk remedies should be used for osteoarthritis of the 1st degree:

  • herbal tea. Pour in a ceramic teapot a teaspoon of corn stigmas, St. John’s wort, sage, elecampane, pour 2 cups of boiling water. After an hour, strain, drink 100 ml three times a day;
  • compress. Mash a fresh leaf of horseradish, grease with honey, apply for an hour to a sore knee.

In the spring, you can begin to prepare a useful tincture. You need to collect, put in a jar and pour vodka young leaves or flowers of calendula, dandelion, plantain, clover, shepherd’s bag, chamomile, coltsfoot. By the end of autumn, tincture for rubbing into the knee is ready.

What complications can there be?

Osteoarthrosis is slowly but steadily progressing. Its course is complicated by secondary reactive synovitis, spontaneous hemorrhages in the joint cavity (hemarthrosis), femoral condyle osteonecrosis, external patellar subluxations. At the 4th radiographic stage, the joint gap coalesces, which leads to complete or partial immobilization.

Prevention of disease

The main preventive measures are the exclusion of excessive loads on the knee, regular physical therapy and gymnastics, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol. During sports training, orthopedists recommend the use of elastic knee pads.


The forecast is favorable. The treatment of osteoarthrosis of the knee joint of the 1st degree is successful if patients comply with all medical recommendations regarding the use of chondroprotectors, regular physical education and gymnastics.

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles