SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Osteoarthritis. Coloured X-ray of a knee joint of a 76-year-old man suffering from osteoarthritis. This is a disease causing the wasting of joint cartilage. Pads of cartilage in joints reduce the friction between the moving bones, helping to lubricate the joints. The loss of this cartilage (seen as a narrowing of the joint spaces) causes pain and stiffness in the affected joints. Painkilling drugs can treat the pain, and weight loss reduces pressure on the joint. Surgery can be performed to replace the knee joints in serious cases. The thigh bone (femur) is at right and the tibia and fibula of the lower leg are at left. The patella (kneecap) is at upper left.
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