What is it?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage.
Bone may be exposed and damaged if the bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage. It can affect any joint in the body including the spine.
Degenerative joint disease and degenerative arthritis are the other names for Osteoarthritis.
What are the symptoms/signs?
- swollen joint
- joint pain
- stiffness; this may be noticed when getting out of bed or when standing from a seated position
- feeling of bone on bone “crunching”
What are the causes?
- Being overweight
- Hereditary factors
- Stress on joints from sports or work
- Increasing age
Who is at risk?
Osteoarthritis mainly affects the older population, but can affect young people too. It is the most common form of arthritis and it is also the leading cause of long lasting disability in the United States. About 8 million people in the United Kingdom and nearly 27 million people in the United States are affected by OA.
What treatments are available?
A combination of exercise, life style modification, and pain medication is the usual treatment for this condition. If the pain becomes debilitating of life joint replacement surgery may be considered.
Weight loss and exercise are types of lifestyle modification which are the main treatments of this disease. There are many types of treatments:
- Physical therapy: Exercise can be prescribed by a therapist to help improve function, decrease pain and delay the need for surgery.
- Lifestyle modification: Moderate exercise proves to be beneficial in decreasing pain. In the self management of arthritis, education is also helpful in patients. You should ask your GP for contact details on support groups in your local area.
- Surgery: This is another optional treatment of OA. If other managements are not effective then joint replacement surgery or resurfacing will be considered.