Osteoarthritis of the knee presents with joint pain, deformity, stiffness, a reduced range of movement and sometimes giving way. The pain may be sharp and brought on by particular movements (flexing, extending or turning on the knee), or may present as a dull ache occurring at rest especially after periods of activity or during the night. Stiffness
tends to be worse after being immobile, and usually improves for a while with use.
Examination may reveal fixed deformity, swelling, tenderness and loss of normal range of movement. Osteoarthritis is not associated with systemic illness.
Osteoarthritis is common and its prevalence increases with age. In most patients with radiological changes, symptoms are not sufficiently troublesome to prompt a general practice consultation. In some patients symptoms may be intermittent but in others they may be relentless and debilitating. The underlying joint changes of osteoarthritis are
generally irreversible and management aims to relieve symptoms and reduce disability.