What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common orthopaedic condition that affects the joints and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling, limiting the person’s ability to move. Arthritis is a generic term for over 100 musculoskeletal conditions. Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage, the tough shock-absorbing material that covers the ends of our bones, to wear away. The rubbing of joints caused by cartilage loss can cause pain. Osteoarthritis can be terribly painful and disabling. Untreated osteoarthritis gradually limits the patient’s ability to move. While medications, therapy, and lifestyle changes can help manage arthritic pain, surgical treatment may be required in the end.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue that protects joints by acting as a shock absorber when we move or stress them. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear of cartilage in the bone joints. Osteoarthritis can affect any of the joints. However, the pain is concentrated in weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hip, and knee, as opposed to other joints affected by Osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis can be caused by normal cartilage wear and tear. An infection or joint injury can speed up the process. Even though hereditary causes of the condition have not been proven, having a family history of the disease may increase your risk of developing it. It also tends to worsen as people get older. Osteoarthritis can affect young people as well, because cartilage can wear away as a result of an injury or overuse of a joint during sports or work.
What are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Arthritis symptoms vary depending on the type of arthritis. Some people experience mild symptoms while others experience severe ones. The majority of the symptoms are limited to the joints and will not affect the rest of the body. Arthritis symptoms can appear gradually or suddenly. Symptoms may appear and disappear or persist.
Symptoms of arthritis include:
Redness around the joints
Difficulty in moving the joint
How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
A physical examination is performed to determine the source of the pain and how it affects the patient’s mobility. The patient may be asked to undergo X-rays, CT scans (computerised tomography), or MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) to assess joint damage and the type of arthritis that caused it.
How is Osteoarthritis Treated?
Arthritis treatment is determined by the type of arthritis, the severity of the pain, and the patient’s overall physical health. The treatment will address various aspects of arthritis, such as arthritis pain, joint movement and strength, and so on. Medication, exercise, heat/cold therapy, joint protection, and surgery are all possible treatments. One or more of these treatments will be included in treatment plans.
Because osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, it may worsen over time. Surgery is the last resort when non-surgical treatments are no longer an option. The type of surgery is determined by the type of arthritis, its severity, and the patient’s overall health.