ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Arthritic knee. Coloured frontal (left) and profile (right)) X-rays of the knee of a 68 year old patient with osteoarthritis. The femur (thigh bone) is at top. At bottom is the tibia (shin bone), with the fibula behind it. In a healthy knee there would be a clear gap between the heads of the femur and the tibia. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, caused by mechanical wear and tear, that leads to the loss of the protective cartilage between joints. This causes pain and stiffness. Treatment is with anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. In severe cases the joint may be surgically replaced.
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