Osteoarthritis is a disease that is caused by normal wear and tear on
joints as well as trauma to a joint or joints. As time goes on constant use
of a joint causes wear on the cartilage inside the joint. The purpose of the
cartilage inside the joint is to provide shock absorption and to provide a
smooth surface for the joint to move on. As the osteoarthritis causes the
cartilage to brake down the surface inside the joints becomes rough which
causes bone damage and inflammation. Inflammation causes cartilage and bone are further damaged as the bones rub together.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms come more likely with age.
Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative arthritis. It develops as we age
because of the damage that slowly happens over time to joints. It affects
approximately 20 million people in the United States. The condition affects both men and
women and occurs primarily in individuals over 40 years of age. Trauma to a
joint is the main cause of osteoarthritis for people under the age of 40.
Osteoarthritis most frequently occurs in the knees, hips, ankles, hands
and other weight bearing joints. This is because there is more stress put on
these joints which cause more wear than with non weight bearing joints.
Causes of Osteoarthritis Symptoms
is commonly linked to old age when the cartilage naturally breaks down due to wear and
tear of the joint. Trauma to a joint such as in an accident it another
primary cause. Physical conditions, such as congenital defects and obesity cause
secondary osteoarthritis. Risk factors of osteoarthritis include:
- Overuse or injury to the joint in accidents and sports
- Trauma to a joint
- Dislocating a joint
- Genetic defects that affect the cartilage
- Diabetes, gout and other hormone disorders
- Poor posture
- Bow legs
Symptoms vary from person to person even though each person suffering from
osteoarthritis has joint deterioration. It is usually thought of as a progressive disease,
one that gets worse over time. Some people find the condition incapacitating while others
have very few symptoms. Pain, the primary symptom of the disease, is commonly brought on
through activity; however, it could be present even when the body is at rest. Examples of
Osteoarthritis Symptoms include:
- Loss of movement
- Stiffness and swelling in the joints
- Snapping of the joints
- Bony growths at the joints and abnormal angulation.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms of the knee, the actual appearance of the knee may change over
time. Some people may become knock-kneed or bow- legged. If you don't move the affected
joint, muscles surrounding the joint will become weaker and sometimes shrink.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms of the hip, the pain may cause you to limp. Also, you may feel
pain around the groin or inner thigh. The affected leg may appear shorter in cases of
osteoarthritis of the hip. Putting on your shoes and tying the laces become difficult.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms in the fingers, the breakdown of cartilage causes bone spurs in
these joints. Spurs in the end joints of fingers are called Heberden's nodes, which occur
most often in women and sometimes as early as 40. Spurs in the middle joints of the
fingers are called Bouchard's nodes.
Your doctor will determine what type of arthritis you have. He or she will ask you
about your symptoms and any related illnesses and it will be important for you to tell the
physician about where, when and how long you have had pain, whether there is any swelling
or redness in the involved joints and if there is any history of arthritis in your family.
The doctor will perform a careful examination of your joints to determine if there is any
swelling, redness, tenderness or loss of motion. x-rays will allow the doctor to see
inside your joints and determine if there has been any destruction of cartilage with
narrowing of the normal joint space or wear and tear on the bones. Blood tests may also be
of value in differentiating rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis and other types of
Regardless of the type of arthritis that a person has, many patients will experience
some difficulty functioning at home, at work or at play because of joint pain, stiffness,
and loss of motion. Arising from bed in the morning, buttoning buttons, writing, sewing,
meal preparation, dressing, sleeping, walking, climbing stairs, arising from a chair or a
toilet seat, and attending to matters of personal hygiene may all be impaired to some
degree by arthritis. Oftentimes, impairment of function is more distressing to patients
than the pain of arthritis and a major goal of all arthritis treatment is the preservation
or improvement of function.