Osteoarthritis (OA)

Also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is a condition affecting the natural cushioning, or cartilage, between joints.

Osteoarthritis Facts and Information

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It can make your joints feel stiff and painful. It’s a common condition that affects men and women. It most often affects older people.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown of cartilage. That’s a tough, smooth tissue that lines the ends of your bones. It helps them glide against each other smoothly. When it breaks down, your bones can rub directly against each other. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition. That means it develops slowly over time.

Osteoarthritis Risk Factors

It often results from the wear and tear of everyday life. But your risk is higher if you have a job that puts a lot of stress on certain joints. Your risk is higher if you play sports, or if you’ve ever injured a joint. It’s also higher if you are overweight, or if you have a family history of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms may include pain and stiffness in your affected joints. You may notice this more when you wake up, after you exercise, or when you stress your joints. You may feel grating or rubbing sensations when you move. These symptoms may get worse over time.

Diagnosis

  • Thorough clinical evaluation. Complete medical history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination.
  • Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans, and electro-diagnosis (EMG). These advanced diagnostic techniques definitively pinpoint the source of pain.

Treatments

Treatment options may include medications and splints or braces to support your joints. Physical therapy and weight loss will help. Avoiding activities that stress your painful joints. If your osteoarthritis is severe, you may benefit from surgery.

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