General or Other | - Others | Osteoarthritis (Disease)


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.

Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint.

Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, a grating or grinding sensation (crepitus) when you move the joint, soft or hard swellings.

Causes and Risk factors

Factors that may cause osteoarthritis include being overweight, getting older, injuring a joint, and the greatest risk is encountered in womens.

There are several stages of osteoarthritis: cartilage loses elasticity and is more easily damaged by injury or use; wear of cartilage causes changes to underlying bone (the bone thickens and cysts may occur under the cartilage); bits of bone or cartilage float loosely in the joint space; the joint lining, or the synovium, becomes inflamed due to cartilage breakdown causing cytokines (inflammation proteins) and enzymes that damage cartilage further.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An X-ray can demonstrate the extent of joint destruction. At times a CT scan and/or MRI is performed for more information.

The goals of treatment are to decrease pain and maintain function. Treatment includes: exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and medications such as acetaminophen, and physical therapy. ...