What Is Osteoarthritis? Its Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatments

What Is Osteoarthritis? Its Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatments

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition. A joint is where two bones meet. The ends of these bones are covered with protective tissue called cartilage. With OA, this cartilage breaks down, causing the bones inside the joints to merge. This can cause pain, stiffness and other symptoms.

OA is more common in older people, although it can occur in adults of any age. OA is used to treat degenerative joint disease, degenerative arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. A major cause of disability, OA affects more than 30 million men and women.

Causes Of Osteoarthritis

OA is caused by joint damage. This damage can accumulate over time, so age is a major cause of joint damage that causes osteoarthritis. The older you get, the more clothes and tears spread over your joints.

Other causes of joint damage include past injuries, such as:

  • Ruptured Cartilage
  • Dislocated Joints
  • Ligament Injuries

These include common defects, obesity and poor posture. Some risk factors, such as family history and gender, increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis And Cartilage

Cartilage is a hard, rubberized substance that is flexible and soft to the bone. Its job is to protect the ends of the bones inside the joint and allow them to move easily together.

When the cartilage breaks down, these bone surfaces become pitted and rough. This can cause joint pain and irritation of the surrounding tissues. Damaged cartilage cannot heal itself. This is because the cartilage does not have blood vessels.

When the cartilage is completely lowered, the shock absorber it provides disappears, leading to bone-to-bone contact. This can cause severe OA-related pain and other symptoms.

Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

OA can be in any joint. However, the most affected areas of the body include:

  • Hands
  • Finger
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • The spine, usually the back of the neck or back

Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness (pain when pressing this area with your fingers)
  • Hardness
  • Swelling

As the OA progresses, the associated pain may intensify. Over time, the joint and surrounding area may also become swollen.

Acute Osteoarthritis

OA is a progressive condition consisting of five stages, from 0 to 4. The first step (0) represents a common joint. Step 4 represents severe OA. Not everyone with OA can progress in 4 stages. The condition often stabilizes before reaching this stage.

In people with severe OA, there is extensive or cartilage damage in one or more joints. Friction of the bone to the bone associated with it can cause serious symptoms such as:

  • Increased swelling and inflammation may  enhance the amount of synovial fluid inside the joint. In general, it helps to reduce friction during fluid movement. However, in large quantities, it can cause inflammation of the joints. Fractured cartilage fragments can also float inside the synovial fluid, increasing pain and swelling.
  • Increased pain: You may feel pain during activities, but also when you rest. If you use too much during the day, you may notice an increase in your pain level as the day progresses or your joints become more swollen.
  • Low range of motion: You can’t even move because of joint stiffness or discomfort. This can make it difficult to enjoy daily activities that used to be easy.
  • Joint instability: Your joints may become less stable. For example, if you have severe OA in your knees, you may experience an obstruction (sudden loss of mobility). You may also experience boxing (when it enters your knee), which can cause falls and injury.
  • Other symptoms, such as joint deterioration, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and joint dysfunction may also occur.
    Joint damage due to severe OA is not irreversible, but treatment can help reduce symptoms.

Osteoarthritis Vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

OA and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have similar symptoms but are very different. OA is a degenerative condition, which means that its severity increases over time. RA, on the other hand, is an automatic disorder.

People with RA have an immune system that mistaken the soft lining around the joint for a threat to the body, which invades this area. This smooth lining, which contains synovial fluid, is called synovium. When the immune system begins to attack, fluid builds up inside the joint, causing stiffness, pain, swelling and inflammation. If you do not know what form of arthritis you have, it is best to talk to your doctor.

Diagnosis Of Osteoarthritis

OA is often a slowly developing disease that can be difficult to diagnose unless it produces painful or debilitating symptoms. Early OA is often diagnosed after an accident or other incident that causes a fracture that requires an X-ray.

In addition to X-rays, your doctor may use MRI to diagnose OA. This imaging test uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create images of bones and soft tissues.

Other diagnostic tests include a blood test that can rule out other conditions that cause joint pain, such as RA combined fluid analysis can also be used to determine if gout or Infection is the main cause of inflammation.

Treatment Of Osteoarthritis

OA treatment focuses on handling the symptoms. The type of treatment that will help you the most depends on the severity of your symptoms and their location. Often, lifestyle changes, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and home remedies are enough to relieve pain, stiffness, and swelling.

OA home remedies and lifestyle changes include:


Physical activity strengthens the muscles around your joints and can help relieve stiffness. At least every other day, try to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity. Choose soft, low-impact activities such as walking or swimming. Tai Chi and yoga can improve joint flexibility and help control pain.

Weight Loss

Being overweight can put pressure on your joints and cause pain. Losing more weight helps relieve stress and reduce pain. A healthy weight can also reduce your risk for other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Adequate Sleep

Swelling and swelling of your muscles can be reduced easily. Please be kind and don’t overdo it. Getting enough sleep at night can also help you handle pain more effectively.

Heat And Cold Therapy

You can experiment with heat or cold therapy to relieve pain and muscle stiffness. Several times a day for 15 to 20 minutes for joint pain. Apply a hot or cold compress.

These methods can help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Exercises For Osteoarthritis

Soft stretching exercises can be very helpful for people with OA, especially if they have stiffness or pain in their knees, hips or back. Stretching can help improve mobility and mobility.

As with any exercise plan, consult your doctor before you begin to make sure it is the right one for you. If stretching exercises get the green light, these four exercises will help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

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