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Osteoarthritis – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis refers to biomechanical changes within a joint. Osteoarthritis is very common in India and it is the most common kind of arthritis. Various factors can contribute to osteoarthritis like age, obesity, etc.

Osteoarthritis, also known as a degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the most common type of arthritis. This kind of arthritis generally develops during aging. There are some exceptions to this rule, but osteoarthritis typically progresses slowly over many years. A joint affected by inflammation or injury will change shape, have tendons and ligaments degenerated, and cartilage will break down, resulting in pain, swelling, and deformity.

Osteoarthritis can be of two types:

  • Primary: Primary arthritis generally affects the thumbs, fingers, knees, hips, spine, and toes.
  • Secondary: Joint abnormalities related to trauma or injury, such as repetitive injuries or sports-related trauma; inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or gout; infectious arthritis; gene disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:

According to doctors, Osteoarthritis develops slowly and keeps worsening over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joints that are affected by osteoarthritis develop during the movement of that joint.
  • You may feel stiffness in the joints after your sleep and during your inactive lifestyle.
  • You might feel discomfort around your joints when you touch them or apply gentle pressure.
  • Loss of flexibility. Osteoarthritis reduces your flexibility which causes less motion in your joints.
  • Grating sensation. You may hear popping and cracking sounds from your joints when you perform any exercise or movement randomly.
  • Bone spurs. These are the projections or extra bones that develop on your bone edges and joints.
  • It might possible you find bumps around your joints that cause pain on any kind of movement.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

If a person falls under any of the factors is more likely to be prone to Osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Genes involved in cartilage production are deficient in some individuals. This results in faulty cartilage, which accelerates joint degradation. People who are born with joint abnormalities are more prone to develop osteoarthritis, and those who are born with a spinal abnormality (such as scoliosis or curvature) are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the spine.
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, and spine are more common among obese people. Maintaining a healthy weight or decreasing extra weight in certain areas may help prevent osteoarthritis or slow the progression of the disease once it has developed.
  • Osteoarthritis is a disease that is caused by injuries. Athletes who sustain knee injuries, for example, maybe at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. People who have suffered a serious back injury are also more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the spine. People who have broken a bone close to a joint are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in that joint.
  • Joint overuse. Osteoarthritis is more likely to occur if certain joints are overworked. People who work in jobs that require a lot of knee bending, for example, are more likely to acquire osteoarthritis.
  • Other diseases. People who have rheumatoid arthritis, another kind of arthritis, and several uncommon diseases, such as iron overload or high growth hormone are more prone to develop Osteoarthritis.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis can not be determined through a single test. Diagnosis includes the following procedures.

  • The doctor will take a look at your medical history to find the proper way to treat your disease. The doctor will check if your family member had any similar kind of disease, symptoms, and any medications you are taking for any other disease.
  • The doctor will physically examine your reflexes and joint movement and general health.
  • Have images taken of your joint using:
    • X-rays can show loss of joint space, bone damage, bone remodeling, and bone spurs. Early osteoarthritis might not be diagnosed by x-ray.
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can show damage to soft tissues in and around the joint. Health care providers typically use MRIs to diagnose joint pain or dysfunction.
  • Blood tests to check out other possible causes of symptoms.
  • Taking joint fluid samples to look for other causes of joint pain, such as infection or gout.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis:

Medications

Some different types of OA medications can help provide relief. They include:

  • Oral pain relievers. Pain can be reduced by taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pain relievers but it will not give relief in swelling and popping sounds.
  • Topical pain relievers. Creams, gels, and patches are mostly prescribed by doctors to reduce pain and inflammation. Joint numbing drugs may ease minor arthritis pain, especially if they numb the joint area.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) are anti-inflammatory drugs that will reduce pain as well as swelling.
  • They are available in tablet and liquid forms. You may also inject them directly into a joint. Some corticosteroids are cortisone and triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog-40, Zilretta).
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is an antidepressant that you may be prescribed by your doctor to treat musculoskeletal pain as well as depression.

Therapy

  • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can demonstrate exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints, promote flexibility, and lessen pain. Regular mild exercise, such as swimming or walking, that you perform on your own might be just as helpful.
  • Occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can assist you in figuring out how to perform daily tasks without adding to the discomfort in your joints. If you have osteoarthritis in your hands, for example, a toothbrush with a large handle might make brushing your teeth simpler. If you have knee osteoarthritis, a bench in the shower may assist alleviate the strain of standing.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). To treat pain, a low-voltage electrical current is used. Some patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis find it helpful in the short term.

Surgery

  • Arthroscopy is used to clean out diseased cartilage or to heal damaged tissues. The knee and shoulder are the most typically treated areas. Recent studies have cast doubt on its efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
  • A damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint during joint replacement surgery. When a person’s function and quality of life are seriously impacted by joint pain, joint replacement surgery should be considered. Even in the best of conditions, surgery will not restore the joint to its original form (artificial joints do not have all of the motion of natural joints), but it will greatly improve movement and function. Furthermore, an artificial joint will significantly reduce pain. The hip and knee are the two joints that are most frequently replaced. Artificial joints can now be used to alleviate severe pain that hasn’t responded to existing treatments by replacing shoulders, fingers, elbows, and ankles.
  • Joint fusion is a procedure that involves removing the diseased joint and fusing the two bones on either side of it. This is more common in locations where joint replacement isn’t working.

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