Also called wear-and-tear joint disease, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition that affects more than 25 million women and men in the United States.
A joint is a combination point of two bones. The ends of both bones are capped with a protective tissue called cartilage. With osteoarthritis, this cartilage breaks down and causes the bones within the joint to rub together - leading to pain, stiffness, and other associated symptoms.
What Are The Common Causes Of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by cartilage damage. This wear and tear of the cartilages can accumulate over time, which is why age is one of the leading risk factors of the joint degeneration leading to osteoarthritis. Other causes of osteoarthritis include past injury, such as:
- Ligament injuries
- Torn cartilage
- Dislocated joints
They also include poor posture, joint malformation, and obesity. Certain risk factors, such as gender and family history, also increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. However, the most commonly affected joints of the body include fingertips, small joints of the hands, hips, knees, and spine, typically at the lower back or neck. Following are the common symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Moderate to severe pain
- Tenderness (pain on touching the area with your fingers)
- Joint stiffness
- Inflammation and swelling
As osteoarthritis become more advanced, the pain and other associated symptoms may become more intense. Over time, inflammation in the joint may also occur.
Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis can help you to manage the condition better.
How Is Osteoarthritis Treated?
Osteoarthritis can't be reversed, but various treatment options can reduce pain and swelling and help you move better. These include;
- Acetaminophen - (Tylenol, others)
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve, others)
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
Physical and occupational therapies can increase your flexibility and reduce pain. A therapist can advise you exercises, and discover new ways to perform everyday tasks to strengthen the muscles around your joint.
If conservative treatment options don't help, you may want to consider other procedures such as:
- Cortisone injections
- Lubrication injections
- Realigning bones
- Joint replacement