What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is considered to be the most common type of arthritis. This condition affects the cartilage that is found at the end of bones and acts as a protective cushion. While osteoarthritis can affect almost any joint, it’s usually found in the spine, hips, knees, and hands. 

The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis can include:

  • Pain in the affected joints during movement or afterward.
  • Tenderness in the joint when pressure is applied.
  • A grating sensation in the joint when it is being used. 
  • Joint stiffness which tends to be more noticeable when you get up or when moving after being inactive. 
  • A loss of flexibility, reducing the joint’s range of motion.
  • Extra pieces of bones, known as bone spurs which form around the joint.
  • Swelling that is usually caused by soft tissue inflammation. 

Treatment for Osteoarthritis

The treatment for osteoarthritis can include:

  • Alternative therapies such as PRP therapy or acupuncture 
  • Medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, naproxen, or ibuprofen. 
  • Occupational therapy which can help you to achieve your daily tasks without putting a lot of pressure on your joints.
  • Physical therapy, whereby the therapist can show you how to perform exercises that can help to strengthen the muscle around the joints. 
  • Joint replacement which involves a surgeon replacing the damaged joint with artificial joints.
  • Injections such as cortisone which can help to relieve the pain or lubrication injections which can provide some cushioning against the joint. 

The Causes of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that works as a cushion between the bones and your joints starts to deteriorate. With the ability to affect the whole joint, osteoarthritis can deteriorate the tissues and cause changes in the bones. 

Some of the risk factors associated with osteoarthritis include:

  • Bone deformities – Anyone who is born with defective cartilage or a malformed joint is at risk of osteoarthritis. 
  • Genetics – Osteoarthritis can be inherited and therefore be found in whole family groups. 
  • Joint issues – Injuries that occur as a result of an accident or from playing sports can cause osteoarthritis. 
  • Metabolic diseases – Hemochromatosis and diabetes can cause osteoarthritis. 
  • Obesity – Carry more body weight puts more stress on the joints. In addition to this, fat tissue creates proteins which can cause inflammation to the joints. 
  • Older age – The older you are, the more at-risk you are of developing this condition. 
  • Repeated joint stress – Sports or jobs where stress is placed repeatedly on a joint can cause someone to develop osteoarthritis.
  • Sex – Women are much more likely to develop this condition, although it is not yet understood why. 

Osteoarthritis is a particularly nasty condition, especially if it is left untreated. Taking painkillers can help, however, other treatments might be required. If you think you might have osteoarthritis please speak to your doctor. They might suggest that you undergo a few tests to determine the reason for your pain and discomfort. 

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