Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, & Treatment

Vaibhav Saxena

, Health A2Z

Osteoarthritis is an ancient disease, which is considered to be traveling from ages as specialists in ancient disease and injury have found this disease in fossils of early age as well. Whereas, the risk of this disease has been doubled after the 20th century.


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What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease which causes severe inflammation in joint of the body due to autoimmune disorder occurring in the body. Whereas this disease can impact one or more than one joint of the body but mainly targets the knee or hands, also it gets worse as you get older.


Osteoarthritis is a kind of arthritis which is one of the most common forms of arthritis, hence it is considered that every one out of five people suffers from this ailment once in a lifetime. Also, people of age above 65 are at a very high risk of this ailment.




What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) also termed as degenerative arthritis or wear and tear arthritis due to its tendency of inflammation in joint bones. Majorly this disease affects the cartilage of the bone which is a slippery and hard tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Cartilage of bone joint is required for the frictional movement between the two bones in the human body.


In degenerative arthritis, the joint which is responsible for carrying the body weight is mainly affected like thumb, neck, lower back, knee, and hips. The cartilage of the bone joint is damaged and eroded away which causes the two bones to collide and rub against each other and due to the frictional tension person faces severe pain, stiffness, rigidness, and disability to stand.




What are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

In this condition, the affected bone starts to lose its original shape and small deposits of bone start to outgrow on the edge of the joint which is called osteophytes or bone spurs. There are many symptoms which successfully indicates towards this wear and tear disease.

  • Stiffness in joint
  • Cracking of bone (Crepitus)
  • Pain after rest or overuse of joint
  • Joint swelling
  • Loss of ability




What are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?

It is proven by studies and surveys that over 15 million Indians of age 30 or above suffer from this chronic disease which makes this disease one of the most common disease. There are many factors and reasons that cause this disease, major ones are underlying.


1. Heredity:

OA is easily transmitted through genes which makes it a genetical disease. Children who have the abnormal spine or joint condition from birth are more likely to develop this disease in older age. So, early diagnosis is the best way to tackle.


2. Age:

Age plays an important part in acquiring degenerative arthritis as the human body grows older the bone tends to lose its strength and starts to fall fragile which attracts this disease to acquire your joint easily.


3. Obesity:

It is known that this disease affects the weight-bearing joints of the body like hips, elbow, thumb or knee which indicates that in case of obesity, where the body gains weight in a massive amount, this disease becomes risky.


4. Injury or Overuse:

If there is an injury in the joint or you are overusing the joint by applying the pressure for a long time, increases the risk of this disease.


5. Diseases:

The diseases in which the iron levels in the body are increased in huge amount or the hormones are disturbed drastically, the risk of OA is increased.




What is the Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis?

Diagnosis of this ailment must be done immediately as the disease gets worse with time. The diagnosis of this disease involves helpful tests like a physical exam, observation of symptoms and an X-ray to examine the possibility of following elements in the bone joint.

  • Joint space narrowing
  • Subchondral cyst formation
  • Osteophytes
  • Subchondral sclerosis


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What is the Treatment for Osteoarthritis?

There is no permanent cure to OA but there are many procedures that can be adapted to detain the symptoms and disability to move the joint.


1. Exercises:

Exercises are the best and most supportive treatment for all diseases and so does for Osteoarthritis. Brisk walking on the plain surface, swimming, steady joint movement exercises and jogging are recommended to strengthen and loosen up the joint and nearby muscles.


2. Weight loss:

A little lifestyle change is required to find the cure to an ailment. Losing weight implies on this one, try with a healthy diet and routine exercises so that with less body weight the pressure on the joint will be reduced as well.


3. Physical therapy:

A message is always soothing and relaxing so why wouldn’t it be for your stiff joints, the pressure exerted through a massage will help you reduce the stiffness and promote the movement. Gait and balance training are also recommended.


4. Medication:

There are many medications available to tackle degeneration arthritis which can be accessed through a doctor’s prescription. The medications are topical, joint injections and tablets as well.


5. Surgery:

After the failure of all the non-invasive measures, surgical measures turns out to be the only way to treat it. The surgical measure like joint replacement surgery or resurfacing is conducted on the affected joint.





After seeing the high increasing rate of osteoarthritis we can easily measure the severity of this disease so we must stay cautious of this ailment by applying prevention measures like regular exercises, check-ups, and a healthy diet into our lifestyle and knowing the possible symptoms, causes, and treatment of this disease.



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