Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the progressive deterioration of the cartilage in the joints. Some estimates claim that 10 percent of men and women over the age of 60 are affected by osteoarthritis, making it the most common joint disease in the world, although statistics vary across different regions of the world. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most common in the hands, knees, spine, and hips. Joints in the hands are affected mainly because of how often they are used, while the hips, knees, and spine are susceptible to the disease because they carry much of the body's weight.
Osteoarthritis may be asymptomatic in its early stages, but symptoms will develop as the disease progresses. These symptoms may include: Joint pain during or after movement, or when pressure is applied to the affected area Joint stiffness and loss of flexibility. A grating sensation that can be felt or even heard when the affected joints are used. Bone spurs that can be felt around the affected joints. Causes The primary cause of osteoarthritis isn't completely understood, but it is often associated with stress on the joints. When a joint is under excessive pressure or stressed by repetitive movement, the cartilage that cushions the bones in the joints wears away until the bone is rubbing against bone. Risk factors such as advanced age, obesity, previous joint injuries, and preexisting joint deformities can also contribute to osteoarthritis. Women are also more likely than men to develop the disease, although it isn't clear why.
Although osteoarthritis is irreversible, the symptoms can be managed. Minor pain can be managed through over-the-counter pain medications or corticosteroid injections, and some range of motion can be restored through physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery to remove the affected tissue or to replace joints may be necessary.
Contact Dr. Shane Silver
If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or discomfort, you may have osteoarthritis. Contact Dr. Shane Silver to learn more.