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Do your knees crack, pop, or squeak when you stand up? A new study suggests this may be an early sign of osteoarthritis. According to the research, individuals with “noisy knees,” but who do not experience knee or joint pain, may still be at heightened risk for developing the condition. However, early detection may be key in preventing it from progressing.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, and is the most common chronic condition of the joints. The condition can develop when cartilage, the firm rubbery material that covers the joins, can begin to break down or swell. As the condition develops, cartilage and even bone can break down and chip off. In the end stages of the condition, the cartilage has completely worn away, causing the bones to rub against each other during movement, and action that can cause tremendous pain, the foundation reported. The condition can affect anyone, but is more common in those aged 65 and older. Risk factors include older age, obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, weak thigh muscles, and genes. While the condition cannot be cured, there are advancements in addressing the pain caused by joint stress. For example, a study from 2013 found that methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may also be helpful for patients with OA. The chemo drug works to alleviate joint inflammation by reducing the activity of the immune system.
Source: Lo GH, Strayhorn MT, Driban JB, et al. Subjective Crepitus as a Risk Factor for Incident Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Arthritis Care & Research . 2017