Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, causing pain and stiffness. It is severely debilitating. As the disease progresses, normal movement becomes increasingly restricted and painful. With an estimated 10% to 15% of adults aged over 60 suffering from the disease, OA is the single most common cause of disability in adults. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 80% of those with OA will have limitations in movement and 25% cannot perform daily activities.
Any joint of the body can be affected by osteoarthritis (OA). However, it commonly occurs in the load-bearing joints of the knees and hips. OA is also relatively common in joints which are continually stressed over the years, such as the fingers, feet, lower back and neck.
In a healthy individual, the cartilage between two bones enables smooth motions in the joints. In osteoarthritis (OA), this cushioning material is broken down. This results in stiffness, swelling due to inflammation and pain when moving the joint as the bones rub against each other. In further stages of OA, the bone itself starts to break down and develops outgrowths called spurs or osteophytes. Other tissues of the joint, including ligaments and tendons, are also affected and broken down.
There is no single cause for osteoarthritis (OA). However, several factors are known to increase the risk of developing the disease:
- Age: OA often develops in people over age 50 as the use of the joints over many years is likely to lead to the breakdown of cartilage.
- Obesity: Excess weight puts additional stress on the joints, particularly the knees and hips. This speeds up the breakdown of cartilage.
- Gender: OA affects women more often than men. Particularly in OA of the hands, it can have genetic causes.
- Injury: A history of joint and ligament damages or surgery increase the risk of developing OA. Repetitive movements over longer periods of time in some sports or occupations may cause those damages.
Also known as bone spurs, osteophytes are outgrowths of the bone. They form as the joints are increasingly damaged by osteoarthritis.
A strong indicator for OA is joint pain when using the joint or at the end of day after having used the joint. Joint noises such as cracking noises during movement may also occur. Frequent stiffness first thing in the morning or after being a rest is one of the most common symptoms. Swelling, warmth and redness of the joint is a strong indicator for its inflammation. Some symptoms may be deceiving, particularly in OA of the hip. So-called “referred pain” in other regions of the body may actually be caused by the hip joint.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.
An early diagnosis is crucial for an effective control of the symptoms. With its novel Bone Microarchitecture Analysis, the IB Lab Analyzer assesses the details of the trabecular bone structure long before they are visible to the human eye. This analysis can deliver valuable information about the effectiveness of the treatment on an anatomical level.
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Your report explained
① Patient data
This section contains information about yourself, including your name, sex, date of birth, height
② Exam data
The exam data table gives information about when your X-ray was taken, who it was taken by and which device was used. The laterality “L” or “R” describe whether the left or right knee was captured. The software generates a study ID for internal purposes.
③ Knee osteoarthritis status
Four aspects of your knee joint and bones are assessed: the sclerosis, joint space width (JSW), deformation and osteophytes. Each of these aspects are graded by your physician based on the suggestion of the IB Lab Analyzer. The degree of sclerosis and the joint space width are graded with up to three points, whereas the maximum score for deformation and osteophytes is two points. The higher the score, the greater the severity. To visualize the severity, each square displaying the points is color-coded (green, yellow, orange or red). The sum of all points is the total score which is displayed on the bottom right.
④ Kellgren & Lawrence grade
The Kellgren & Lawrence (KL) grade is based on the total number of points scored by each of the four assessed parameters. The total score ranges from 0 to 10 and corresponds to a KL grade between 0 and 4. A short description in the bottom half of the field gives you an explanation as to what the grade means. A KL grade of 0 means that there is no anatomical change compared to a healthy knee. A KL grade of 4 means that your knee displays clinical indicators for severe osteoarthritis. This field is color-coded according the KL grade (green yellow, orange or red).
On the second page of your report you can find a detailed description of the Kellgren-Lawrence Grade. If you lost this page you can download it here.
⑤ Measured joint space width – JSW
The joint space width (JSW) is the distance between your thigh and shin bone, in between which the cartilage sits. The cartilage wears down as osteoarthritis (OA) progresses which causes the JSW to narrow. It is measured in millimeters (mm) at four points on the inner, medial side and the outer, lateral side of the knee. Each measurement is listed in this table.
⑥ X-ray image element
The X-ray of your knee is shown with the analysis of the IB Lab Analyzer. This picture should not be used for a diagnosis and is included for identification purposes.
⑦ Measured joint space area – JSA
The joint space area (JSA) is the area between your thigh and shin bone. It is measured in two square boxes which are specified by the software. “JSA/ROI [%]” describes how much of the box is considered joint space area. Furthermore, the IB Lab Analyzer calculates the distribution. This describes which percentage of the whole area lies on the lateral or medial side.
⑧ Medial/Lateral ratio
The medial/lateral ratio describes the distribution of the joint space area to the lateral or medial side.
⑨ Physician’s remarks
Your physician may include other relevant information about your medical history or the examination here.
The institution at which your X-ray was taken may include their logo.