Doylestown Health is consistent with the COVID-19 recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Doylestown Health supports continued proactive efforts to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak among our most vulnerable populations, including unvaccinated adults as well as children under 5 who are ineligible for vaccination at this time.

For more Doylestown Health COVID-19 information, visit our COVID-19 Update page.

Too Young for Knee Osteoarthritis?

Health Articles |
Categories: Orthopedics
Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, causing joint pain, swelling and stiffness by wearing down the slippery cartilage that keeps bones from rubbing together.

You're especially at risk if you are older, overweight or have injured a joint, but arthritis affects young people too.

Osteoarthritis Risk Factors for Younger Generations

Strain and injury are common causes of knee pain in people under 50, but if you have a family history of arthritis, or you injured your knee at a young age, osteoarthritis may be the culprit, according to Doylestown Health orthopedic surgeon Charles B. Burrows, MD.

"A high school football player who tears a ligament or cartilage in the knee at the age of 18 would be much more likely to develop knee arthritis in middle age or earlier than the average person," explains Dr. Burrows.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

If you wake up in the morning having stiff knees with the first step of the day, also known as "stiffness on startup," you may have osteoarthritis.

Swelling and pain after activity is another red flag. "Patients often report having difficulty with a sport of activity they used to participate in, or say they feel pain with everyday activities such as going to the mall or supermarket," says Dr. Burrows.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis

In addition to obtaining a medical history and conducting a physical exam, your orthopedist will want to know about the symptoms and issues that prompted you to make an appointment. X-rays help determine if you have osteoarthritis, and an MRI may be ordered to take a closer look at cartilage and to check for other injuries, according to Dr. Burrows.

Osteoarthritis Treatments

  • Over-the-counter medications including acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen to help with inflammation and pain
  • Cortizone injections to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Hyaluronic acid "gel shots" are lubricants injected into the arthritic knee
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight management
  • Surgery when other treatments are no longer effective

Exercising with Osteoarthritis

"Though it sounds counterintuitive, exercise helps people who have osteoarthritis feel better in the long term," says Dr. Burrows, noting that physical therapists can work with patients to design a program to help them stay in shape without exacerbating symptoms. Options often include activities with the foot fixed in a device, such as a stationary bike or elliptical, which involve less impact on the knee.

Building the muscle around the knee joint can be very beneficial for the long-term management of arthritis as well as preparing the patient for surgery, such as knee replacement.

For more information about joint replacement at Doylestown Health's Orthopedic Institute, please call the Orthopedic Patient Navigator at 215.345.2642 or

About Clark Outpatient Rehabilitation Center

The Clark Outpatient Rehabilitation Center offers physical, occupational, and speech therapies as well as hand therapy, lymphedema therapy, and pelvic floor rehabilitation, and programming for neurological impairments with ample space. Its location within steps of Doylestown Hospital—and convenient parking—on the health system’s flagship campus is in careful consideration of facilitating patient access to these popular and critical services.

Blog Posts

Sad man with protective face mask at home living room couch feeling tired and worried suffering depression amid coronavirus lockdown and social distancing. Mental Health and isolation concept. | Doylestown Health
Pandemic Stress and Your Body

Pandemic-related stress has us all on edge. Find out how stress impacts your body and discover simple adjustments to help get you back on track.

View All Articles

Upcoming Classes and Events

For more information or to find a doctor