Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees.Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff.

With Osteoarthritis, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. In some cases it also causes reduced function and disability; some people are no longer able to do daily tasks or work.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain and stiffness, and problems moving the joint. Some people also have symptoms such as: – swelling – tenderness – grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints

The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints. For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other people can experience more continuous and severe problems which make it difficult to carry out everyday activities. Common Symptoms are:

  • Pain or aching
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion (or flexibility)
  • Swelling

Causes of osteoarthritis

As part of normal life, your joints are exposed to a constant low level of damage. In most cases, your body repairs the damage itself and you do not experience any symptoms.But in osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. Bony growths can develop, and the area can become red and swollen.

Several things are thought to increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis, including:

  • Joint injury – overusing your joint when it has not had enough time to heal after an injury or operation
  • Other conditions (secondary arthritis) – osteoarthritis can happen in joints severely damaged by a previous or existing condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout
  • Age – your risk of developing the condition increases as you get older.
  • Family history – osteoarthritis may run in families, although studies have not identified a single gene responsible
  • Obesity – being obese puts excess strain on your joints, particularly those that bear most of your weight, such as your knees and hips
  • Being a woman – osteoarthritis is more common in women than men.

What are the risk factors for Osteoarthritis?

  • Joint injury or overuse—Injury or overuse, such as knee bending and repetitive stress on a joint, can damage a joint and increase the risk of osteoarthritis in that joint.
  • Age—The risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with age.
  • Gender—Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men, especially after age 50.
  • Obesity—Extra weight puts more stress on joints, particularly weight-bearing joints like the hips and knees. This stress increases the risk of osteoarthritis in that joint. Obesity may also have metabolic effects that increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics—People who have family members with osteoarthritis are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. People who have hand osteoarthritis are more likely to develop knee osteoarthritis.
  • Race— Some Asian populations have lower risk for osteoarthritis.

Diagnosing osteoarthritis

To help determine whether you have osteoarthritis, your Doctor will first ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints.

A Specialist may suspect osteoarthritis if:

  • You’re aged 45 or older
  • You have joint pain that gets worse the more you use your joints
  • The stiffness in your joints is not there in the mornings, or lasts less than 30 minutes

Further tests – such as X-rays or blood tests – are not usually necessary, but may be used to rule out other possible causes, such as rheumatoid arthritis or a fractured bone.

Treating osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition and cannot be cured, but it doesn’t necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. A number of treatments are also available to reduce the symptoms.

Mild symptoms can sometimes be managed with simple measures including:

  • Increasing physical activity and Regular exercise
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Wearing suitable footwear
  • Using special devices to reduce the strain on your joints during your everyday activities
  • Physical therapy with muscle strengthening exercises
  • Medications, including over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription drugs
  • Supportive devices such as crutches or canes
  • Surgery (if other treatment options have not been effective)

If your symptoms are more severe, you may need additional treatments such as painkillers and a structured exercise plan with a physiotherapist.

Managing Osteoarthritis and improving quality of life

  • Learn self-management skills. Join a self-management education class, which helps people with arthritis and other chronic conditions—including Osteoarthritis—understand how arthritis affects their lives and increase their confidence in controlling their symptoms and living well.
  • Learn more about the CDC-recommended self-management education programs.
  • Get physically active. Experts recommend that adults engage in 150 minutes per week of at least moderate physical activity. Every minute of activity counts, and any activity is better than none. Moderate, low impact activities recommended include walking, swimming, or biking. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
    • Go to effective physical activity programs. For people who worry that physical activity may make Osteoarthritis worse or are unsure how to exercise safely, participation in physical activity programs can help reduce pain and disability related to arthritis and improve mood and the ability to move. Speak to your Physical Therapist.
  • Talk to your doctor. You can play an active role in controlling your arthritis by attending regular appointments with your health care provider and following your recommended treatment plan. This is especially important if you also have other chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease.
  • Lose weight. For people who are overweight or obese, losing weight reduces pressure on joints, particularly weight bearing joints like the hips and knees. Reaching or maintaining a healthy weight can relieve pain, improve function, and slow the progression of Osteoarthritis.
  • Protect your joints. Joint injuries can cause or worsen arthritis. Choose activities that are easy on the joints like walking, bicycling, and swimming. These low-impact activities have a low risk of injury and do not twist or put too much stress on the joints. Learn more about how to exercise safely with arthritis.


Disclaimer: All contents on this site are for general information and in no circumstances information be substituted for professional advice from the relevant healthcare professional, Writer does not take responsibility of any damage done by the misuse or use of the information.