What causes arthritis in the knee?

What causes arthritis in the knee?

Arthritis in the knee, or knee osteoarthritis (which is actually the most common type of arthritis) is a disease that progressively becomes disabling. It corresponds to the wear and tear of the knee cartilage, which causes laxity and flexibility during movements. In advanced cases, it even extends until bone contact within the joint, leading to intense knee pain and a reduced mobility.

Knee arthritis may get worse over years, so it is important to know its causes and risk factors in order to reduce them and slow down the progression of the disease. What causes arthritis in the knee? What are the risk factors of knee osteoarthritis (OA)? Find your answers here thanks to EPITACT®!


Causes of arthritis in the knee

The cause of arthritis in the knee is often related to traumas, whether during a sport, a leisure or an occupational activity. Indeed, the deterioration of the knee cartilage can come from chronic excessive pressure, microtraumas or overuse of the joint. Such stresses on the joints are part of our daily life.

Indeed, all the activities that increase the pressure on the weight-bearing joints are causes of arthritis in the knee. This is the case for the jobs that involve carrying heavy loads repeatedly, sports like weightlifting or just people who are overweight.

Microtraumas caused by repeated shocks on the joint also damage the cartilage by creating small cracks for example. If your occupation requires frequent kneeling like plumbing or tile installation, be aware that this is a major risk factor for osteoarthritis in the knee.

Also, running is one of the many physical activities that demand high use of the knee. Eventually, this can be part of what causes arthritis in the knee.


Knee osteoarthritis and its risk factors

Several studies reveal a lot of risk factors for knee arthritis. Here are examples of what causes arthritis in the knee:

  • age, although some young patients can also be affected. Indeed, cell regeneration decreases with time.
  • in women, menopause usually goes together with decreased oestrogen levels that modifies the pain signal transmission. As a consequence, sensitivity is higher.
  • being overweight is also a cause of arthritis in the knee risk factor of knee osteoarthritis. Excessive load puts pressure on the joint and irremediably damages the cartilage. In some cases, readjustment of diet can also avoid worsening of the condition.
  • significant muscle imbalances can also accentuate the condition.
  • anatomical misalignments are another risk factor for knee osteoarthritis. This is the case of genu valgum (knock knees), genu varum (bow legs) or coxa vara and coxa valga (deformities of the upper extremity of the femur). Also, postural misalignment aids the development of knee osteoarthritis (foot pronation or supination).
  • lastly, past traumas are another example of what causes arthritis in the knee. It can be a fracture (meniscus lesion) or a rupture of the cruciate ligaments (anterior cruciate ligament). Lastly Also, certain diseases contribute to the condition worsening, such as metabolic diseases (gout), inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis) or infectious diseases (infectious arthritis).


Relieving arthritis in the knee

Now that you know what causes arthritis in the knee, try to reduce the risks of aggravating it. By changing some behaviours, you could reduce some risk factors and relieve your knee joint pain. These changes won’t be enough to cure the disease but they will improve your comfort and quality of life.

There are several options to treat arthritis in the knee. Wearing an appropriate knee brace is one of them. EPITACT® has developed the PHYSIOstrap™ MEDICAL*, a knee support brace created for people with patellofemoral osteoarthritis (involvement of the cartilage between the thigh bone and the kneecap).

Ultra-light and comfortable, it can be worn under any clothes like a strapping to hold and stabilise the kneecap. With two silicone strips, it stays very well in place and can be worn daily to prevent or reduce pain.


Understanding what causes arthritis in the knee may help you find pain relief and comfort in your daily life. There are many factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. To receive the appropriate treatment according to your symptoms and stage of your disease, please consult your general practitioner for advice.


Causes & risk factors of knee osteoarthritis


*This solution is a class I medical device that bears the CE marking under this regulation. Carefully read the instructions before use. Manufacturer: Millet Innovation. 02/2022.