Osteoarthritis is one of the common types of arthritis and many people get affected by this condition throughout the world. It affects different joints in the body, mainly the joints that bear weight such as knees and feet. The most commonly used joints in everyday activities such as hands can also be affected by this condition.
The cartilage of the joint that is affected with osteoarthritis becomes thinner and hence the surface becomes thinner. This makes the joint not to move freely as it should. The damaged cartilage can make the tissues within the joint active to repair the damage. This changes the structure of the joint but works as usual without causing any pain. All of us might develop osteoarthritis as we get older, but we may not be aware of it.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
When the cartilage that supports bones in the joints are worn or damaged, it causes osteoarthritis. This condition is treated as wear and tear disease and with wear down of cartilage, the bones get rubbed on each other. Apart from the cartilage wearing down, it can also affect the entire joint. Due to osteoarthritis, the bones get changed and the tissues that hold the joints together also get deteriorated.
The risk of developing osteoarthritis is based on various factors such as:
- Age: The risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with the age. It generally starts at the age of 40 due to the changes in the body such as weight gain, loss of resistance to diseases, and weakened muscles.
- Gender: It is more common in women than in men.
- Overweight: Being overweight is a great factor that causes osteoarthritis in weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, and feet.
- Joint injury: Any injury to the joint or a major operation can cause osteoarthritis to that joint. Physically demanding jobs, repetitive activities, and heavy exercise can also cause osteoarthritis.
- Bone deformities: People who are born with defective cartilage and malformed joint can develop osteoarthritis.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
The symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and can become worse over time. The following are the common symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Moving the affected joints can cause pain
- Joint stiffness after waking up or after being inactive
- When pressure is applied near the affected joint, you may experience tenderness
- Loss of flexibility of the affected joint
- Popping or crackling sound while using the affected joint
- Swelling which is due to the inflammation of soft joints around the joint
As the disease progresses, the pain can become worse. If the symptoms of osteoarthritis are determined at the early stages, it can help prevent this condition.
How Do I Know if I Have Osteoarthritis?
The diagnosis for osteoarthritis is based on the symptoms, how they are developed, and how it is affecting your life. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and will examine your joints. Your doctor will conduct a physical examination to check the tenderness, stiffness, and flexibility of the joints.
The doctor may also conduct screening tests such as X-rays and MRIs to get pictures of the affected joints. X-rays may not be enough to diagnose osteoarthritis, but helps to know the existence of calcium deposits in the joint. MRI scans on the knee can be used to determine any other joint problems or other issues that may be a reason for the symptoms.
The diagnosis can be confirmed using lab tests such as blood tests and joint fluid analysis.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Though the damage to the joints cannot be reversed, the symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed through proper treatment. The treatment is based on the extent of symptoms and the joint that is affected. Your doctor would suggest lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve your pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The lifestyle changes include weight loss, having proper sleep, and physical activity such as exercises that can strengthen the muscles and help prevent the symptoms.
Meet Dr Suhas – An Orthopedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon
If you have any symptoms of osteoarthritis or if your family have a history of osteoarthritis, meet Dr Suhas to prevent further complications. Dr Suhas has 17 years of experience helping patients suffering from osteoarthritis in Hyderabad. You can rely on him to receive quality and assured services. To know more, call us today.