Osteoarthritis: Causes, Prevention, And Treatments
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease that affects people of all ages. It’s the most common type of arthritis, and it causes pain, stiffness, swelling and problems with daily activities. OA is caused by damage to your joint cartilage and you neeed proper medication for osteoarthritis.
Cartilage covers the ends of bones in your joints and allows them to move smoothly back and forth when you move your body. When cartilage deteriorates, bones rub together which leads to inflammation and pain.
The causes of osteoarthritis are not entirely clear. However, it is known that:
- Wear and tear of the joints over time can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. The cartilage (a smooth tissue) that cushions the ends of bones in your joints wears out over time and may become damaged. The result is joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
- Being overweight puts extra pressure on your joints. This can damage cartilage as well as nerves and blood vessels that are in or near your joints. When you lose weight, some symptoms may improve due to better blood flow through narrowed arteries leading into your limbs (peripheral vascular disease).
You’re more likely to get osteoarthritis if you:
- Are older. Osteoarthritis is most common in people over the age of 50, but it can occur at any age.
- Are female. Women are twice as likely to have osteoarthritis than men are.
- Have a family history of the condition or other joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
- Are obese (very overweight). Extra weight puts extra stress on your joints and increases their wear and tear over time; being overweight also raises your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which may put strain on your bones and joints as well.* Have a physical job that requires repetitive motion of the hands, wrists, knees or feet—such as assembly line work—as these types of jobs can cause “wear-and-tear” injuries to muscles and tendons that support joints throughout the body.* Get little exercise beyond walking from place to place—it’s easy for people with sedentary lifestyles to develop weak muscles that support healthy joints
Some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Swelling and redness in the joint
- Loss of range of motion
- Bruising, numbness, or tenderness near the affected joint
- The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on a physical exam and X-rays.
- Diagnosis can be confirmed by an MRI or CT scan.
- Blood tests are not used to diagnose osteoarthritis.
At least once a day, stretch your knee by gently pulling your foot up toward your buttock. Do this for about 30 seconds. If you have osteoarthritis in one knee, do the same for the other knee.
You can also use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling, and take over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) as directed on their labels. These medicines work by reducing inflammation in your joints and muscles so they don’t hurt as much when you move them around. A physical therapist can help you with these exercises and teach you how to use heat or cold therapy at home if needed.
We hope we’ve been able to help you better understand osteoarthritis and how to prevent it. Remember that there is no cure for this condition, but with proper medication for osteoarthritis and prevention, you can manage it so that your joints stay healthy for years to come!