Find Relief from Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis


Arthritis, while painful, isn’t uncommon and osteoarthritis is the most common type in the world. There are over 100 forms of arthritis, and globally, 250 million people suffer from osteoarthritis (OA) pain alone.

If you experience swelling, buckling, or a visible shifting of one or both of your knees, you may have osteoarthritis. This pain could result from all three knee compartments being affected by this degenerative disease.

Compared to unicompartmental and bicompartmental osteoarthritis, which affect only one or two knee compartments, tricompartmental OA is more widespread. 

This form of the disease can cause greater pain and impair knee function.

In this guide, we explain what OA is, how to relieve the pain, and how to slow its progression.

Understanding Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

Tricompartmental osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions daily—it’s not always preventable. As knee cartilage (tissue) breaks down, it can cause moderate to severe pain.

Cartilage provides your joints with frictionless motion. In other words, it cushions the ends of your bones. Over time, the tissue can deteriorate.

Gradual cartilage deterioration often presents with:

  • Different levels of pain (during or after movement)
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • A reduction in mobility
  • Bone spurs
  • A grating sensation

While OA often results from aging, overuse, misuse, and repetitive joint movements are the primary causes. Prior knee injuries or genetic predisposition could also be the cause.

Managing moderate tricompartmental osteoarthritis pain and progression can be challenging. This is because the disease affects the entire joint.

What Makes Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis Different from Other Forms of Osteoarthritis?

OA affects the knee joint, which consists of three bones—the tibia, femur, and patella. When all three compartments of the knee are targeted, it is called tricompartmental osteoarthritis.

The difference between tricompartmental and other forms of OA depends on joint involvement. In other words, it depends on how many knee compartments are affected.

Diagnostic imaging is needed to confirm the type of OA and whether the pain is mild or severe. An x-ray, for example, helps physicians observe the narrowing space between your joints and levels of cartilage erosion.

While arthritis type varies, so do symptoms and their severity.

1. Mild Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

Tricompartmental osteoarthritis pain varies widely. Symptoms might be sporadic for some and consistent for others.

For those with mild osteoarthritis, this often means that there may not be significant damage to the joint yet—only minor symptoms are present. Intermittent pain and stiffness are normal, especially after long periods of inactivity or repetitive movement.

At this stage, it’s simpler to implement different treatments and exercises to manage your symptoms.

2. Moderate Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

Moderate OA is a step further than mild. In this stage, you may experience more persistent pain. Other symptoms often include increased swelling and joint instability. At this point, many people consider pharmacologic interventions for pain management.

A 2023 study on Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) users among OA sufferers had 116,612 participants. In that group, 18.2% used prescribed NSAIDs, and 24.7% used over-the-counter NSAIDs.

This shows that as quality of life starts to be affected, those with OA often explore options outside of physical therapy alone.

3. Severe Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis

With severe OA, pain is often constant and can be debilitating. Joint deformities and limited mobility are also more likely.

At this point, maintaining independence becomes more difficult. Surgical options might be considered when medication no longer helps with the pain.

Consulting with a rheumatologist to develop a treatment plan that addresses your pain and matches your lifestyle is the best approach at this level.

How Does Treatment of Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Look?

Unbearable pain from OA can be treated in multiple ways:

  • Cortisone shots
  • Infusion therapy
  • Natural supplements
  • Prescribed medications

Regardless of the severity of the disease, exercise is one of the best ways to reduce OA pain.

Find Relief from Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis with Southwest Florida Rheumatology

For every three people over the age of 65, one suffers from tricompartmental osteoarthritis. If you are retired and have difficulty moving your joints, working with a rheumatologist can help prevent further damage.

Multiple factors increase the risk of OA—ranging from obesity to simply getting older. Determining your risk type is the first step to better pain management and an enhanced quality of life.

Discover expert care for your osteoarthritis at Southwest Florida Rheumatology, with locations in the heart of Florida’s retirement community in Sun City, as well as Riverview and Wesley Chapel. Our dedicated team provides a full range of services and natural supplements tailored to your needs, helping you manage symptoms effectively and enjoy your best life in retirement.

Contact us today to schedule your first appointment by calling 813-672-2243.

For expert care and relief from joint and muscular pain, schedule your appointment with Southwest Florida Rheumatology in Sun City Center today.


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