What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease that affects the various bones and joints in the body and is caused by ageing joints, injury, and obesity. It is usually referred to as “wear and tear” of the joints, but now it is scientifically researched that it causes damage to joint cartilage, ligaments and the underlying bone.
In osteoarthritis, there is stiffness and pain in joints due to damage in the cartilage of joints and the underlying bone. Joints of fingers, toes, thumb, knee, neck, lower back and hips are the most commonly affected parts.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis may be a result of continuous mechanical stress or inflammation in joints. In the process, there is a breakdown of cartilage and damage to the underlying bones. It may cause damage or loss to joint tissues.
It usually happens gradually over time. Some risk factors that increase the chances of occurrence include:
- Old Age
- Joint injury
- Deformities in joints
- A genetic defect in joint cartilage
- Continuous stress on the joints due to sports or specific jobs.
Types of Osteoarthritis
Includes a variety of inflammatory and noninflammatory joint diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis in the hip can cause pain at various parts such as thigh, buttocks, groin and knee. It may range from slight stiffness to excruciating pain.
Foot and Ankle
Osteoarthritis affects joints in feet and ankle:
- The three joints involving the heel bone, the inner and the outer mid-foot bone
- The joint between the big toe and foot
- The joint between ankle and shinbone
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
The usual reason behind osteoarthritis of the knee is age and with a certain age, everybody tends to develop a varying degree of osteoarthritis. Certain risk factors such as obesity, stress, heredity, sports injuries, gender, etc. increase the chances of getting severe arthritis at a comparatively early age.
Osteoarthritis of the hand is more frequent in certain places like the base of the thumb, at the end of the finger closest to the nail and middle of the finger.
Osteoarthritis of the spine occurs as people get old. A person at a younger age may also get it due to some kind of injury, trauma or genetic deformities.
Osteoarthritis of Shoulder most often occurs in people who are over age 50. In younger people, it could be a result of an injury or trauma, such as a fractured or dislocated shoulder.
It is a condition that involves changes to the bones, discs, and joints of the neck.
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Some of the signs and symptoms are given below:
- Excess pain in joints while moving.
- Affected joint feel tender when applied with little pressure.
- The stiffness of the joint is most noticeable after waking up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Loss of flexibility as the affected joint may not be able to move through its full range of motion.
- A grating sensation of the affected joint while moving.
- Bone spurs are extra bits of bone, feels like hard lumps and form around the affected joint.
This is a chronic disease. There is no cure, but treatments are available to manage the symptoms. Long-term management of the disease would include several factors:
- Managing symptoms such as stiffness, pain and swelling
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Improving joint mobility and flexibility
- Getting enough exercise
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a type of joint disease that is caused by ageing joints, injury, and obesity.
2. What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is believed to be caused by mechanical stress or inflammation in the joints. It develops once cartilage is lost, and the underlying bone becomes affected.
3. What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Excess pain in joints while moving. Affected joint feel tender when applied with little pressure. The stiffness of the joint is most noticeable after morning wakeup or after a period of inactivity. Loss of flexibility as the affected joint may not be able to move through its full range of motion.