Osteoarthritis - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST


Osteoarthritis: Basic Overview

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis which affects millions of people all over the world. This condition occurs when the protective cartilage around the bones wears off due to the passage of the time.

Osteoarthritis is known to damage various joints across the body. Mostly, the joints around the hands, knees, hips and the spine are affected due to the disease. Osteoarthritis tends to worsen over with the passage of time as no cure exists for the condition. However, if the patients stay active and maintain their body weight, the progression of the disease can be slowed down extensively and the joint function can be improved greatly.

Causes of Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning around the ends of the bones begins to deteriorate with the passage of the time. Cartilage is a firm and slippery tissue which causes the motion of the joints without any friction. When a person is suffering from Osteoarthritis, the smooth surface of the cartilage becomes rough. This causes the cartilage to wear down completely leading to the bone to rub against another bone, causing friction.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common kinds of arthritis. Men and women across different age groups can suffer from this condition. Some of the major risk factors of the disease are as follows:

  •       Obesity
  •       Workload which puts stress over the joints
  •       Injury to the joints
  •       Malformation of the joints

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis:

The following are the major signs and symptoms of Osteoporosis:

  •       Increased pain around the joint which may hurt during movement.
  •       Tenderness around the joint when you apply pressure around it
  •       Stiffness of the joints after times of inactivity or after waking up in the morning.
  •       Loss of flexibility around the joint
  •       Grating sensation around the joints when in use
  •       Formation of bone spurs around the affected joints.

It is recommended to visit a doctor if you have been experiencing stiffness as well as joint pain which exceeds a time span of a few weeks or months. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis:

A physical examination is must in order to check the affected joints for signs of tenderness, swelling or redness. Apart from a physical examination, imaging and lab tests can also be recommended for the diagnosis of the condition.

Imaging Tests:

Imaging Tests are used to obtain images of the affected joints. Since cartilage is not visible on the X rays, bone spurs can be seen with the help of X rays.

MRI Scans make use of radio waves in order to create the images of the bone and the soft tissues. MRI is used in order to diagnose the condition by providing the relevant information to the doctors.

Lab Tests: These tests include blood and joint fluid tests in order to determine the condition.

Blood Tests: This test is used in order to rule out the chances of other causes which may be causing the pain, such as Rheumatoid arthritis.

Joint Fluid Analysis: In this test, the doctors use a needle in order to draw out the fluid from the affected joint. This fluid is then examined in order to determine the cause of the inflammation and to rule out the causes such as gout or an infection. 

Treatment and Drugs for Osteoarthritis:

The following are the treatment procedures for Osteoarthritis.

Medications: Medications such as Acetaminophen can be used in order to remove the inflammation. NSAID’s are also used in order to reduce the inflammation and in order to relieve the pain. Over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and Naproxen are also used in order to relieve the pain and swelling. Some of the possible side effects of medications include nausea, cardiovascular problems as well as liver and kidney problems.

Therapy: Exercising and maintaining your body weight is one of the best ways to control osteoarthritis. Physical Therapy is used in order to strengthen the muscles around the joints in order to reduce the joint pain. Occupational Therapy is practiced in order to reduce the extra stress around the affected joints. Chronic Pain Classes are taken by many patients in order to help manage the pain. These classes teach the patients to learn the tricks to reduce the pain and to cope with joint pain.

Surgical Procedures such as Cortisone Shots are also used in order to get rid of the joint pain. The medication is injected directly near the affected joints. Lubrication injections of Hyaluronic Acid are also injected near the knee to provide relief against joint pain. Realignment of the bones is a surgical procedure via which the bone is realigned against the leg. This procedure is known as Osteotomy and can reduce the knee pain by shifting the area of pain.

Joint Replacement Therapy, also known as Arthroplasty is a procedure in which the damaged joint surfaces are replaced with the metal or plastic parts. This procedure is mostly used for hip or the knee joints. Artificial joints need to be replaced after sometime as they tend to come lose after sometime.


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