What is Osteoarthritis?

One of the most common form of Arthritis reported globally is Ostroarthritis (OA), however, not many are aware about the causes and other related aspects. Below mentioned are some important facts and details about OA which you should be aware of.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that affects a large number of people around the world. In simple words, it is caused when the protective cartilage that is supposed to provide cushioning to your bones at the joints deteriorates over time. While osteoarthritis can cause problems at any joint in the body, it mainly occurs in your knees, hips, spine, and fingers.

Causes

The causes of osteoarthritis are not known at this stage. Still, certain osteoarthritis risk factors such as old age, obesity, joint injuries, or abnormalities, and so on may increase the likelihood of a person developing the condition. Women are more likely to develop the condition than men, and genetics may also play a role in the onset of the condition.

Symptoms

In the body, the cartilage acts as a shock absorber and reduces the friction between two bones at a particular joint. Due to osteoarthritis, this cartilage becomes stiff and loses its flexibility, thereby leading to pain and discomfort. In severe cases, the cartilage may become so worn out that the bones rub against each other. The symptoms of osteoarthritis are as follows.

  • Joint pain: The most common symptom is joint pain that worsens with movement or use. The pain may be during or even after the move.
  • Swelling and tenderness: The affected joints may become swollen and red and may be tender to touch.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the joints may be observed, especially after periods of rest and minimal movement, significantly reducing flexibility and range of motion of the joint.
  • Grating of bones: In severe cases, a grating sensation may be experienced at the joint, which indicates that the cartilage has suffered significant deterioration.
Treatment

Osteoarthritis diagnosis is mainly made with the help of imaging tests and physical examinations. Osteoarthritis treatment may involve surgery, medications, injections, and will be recommended by your doctor based on your history and the severity of the condition. Apart from this, some lifestyle changes could help you cope with the condition and ease osteoarthritis symptoms

  • Exercise: Low-impact and low-intensity exercise can help you strengthen your joints' muscles, thereby easing the symptoms and keeping you fit. However, if you experience unbearable joint pain or are experiencing new joint pain for the first time, stop immediately and consult your doctor before exercising again.
  • Drop the extra weight: Being overweight increases the burden on your joints and could worsen the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight becomes crucial if you wish to prevent further damage and reduce the discomfort associated with the condition.
  • Alternate therapies: Hot and cold treatment, physical therapy, braces, or other assistive devices like a cane, for example, could help relieve pain and move better.
When to see a doctor?

If you experience any of the symptoms that are listed above that persist over a significant period of time and do not resolve on their own or if they are impacting your ability to perform basic daily tasks, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that worsens with time, and therefore prompt medical attention could prevent further damage and help you manage the symptoms better.

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