Everything you need to know about osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) causes inflammation of the joints and the gradual breakdown and loss of articular cartilage. As the cartilage wears down, the person experiences pain and difficulty in movement.
OA is a common joint disorder. It develops in the hand, for example, in 1 in 12 people over 60, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
OA is a progressive disease, which means that symptoms get worse over time.
There is no cure, but treatment can help control pain and inflammation and keep a person mobile and active.
Symptoms
Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints.
In the early stages, a person may have no symptoms. Symptoms can appear in one or more joints, and they tend to appear gradually.
When symptoms develop, they can include:

    • Pain and stiffness that get worse after not moving the joint for a while
    • Swelling
    • difficulty moving the affected joint
    • heat and tenderness in the joints
    • a loss of muscle volume
    • A squeaking or crackling sound in the joint, known as crackling
    • OA progression involves:
    • synovitis: mild inflammation of the tissues surrounding the joints
    • Cartilage loss and damage
    • Bony growths that form around the edges of the joints

Effects edit
Cartilage is a protective substance that cushions the ends of the bones of the joints and allows them to move smoothly and easily.
In people with OA, the smooth surface of the cartilage becomes rough and begins to wear away. As a result, the unprotected bones begin to rub against each other, causing damage and pain.
Eventually, bony lumps form in the joint. The medical name for these lumps is bone spurs or osteophytes, and they can give the joint a knobby appearance.
As the bones change shape, the joints become stiffer, less mobile, and painful. Fluid can also build up in the joint, causing swelling.
The following interactive image shows how OA affects a joint.
Although OA can develop in any joint, it often affects the knees, hips, hands, lower back, and neck.
The knees

  • OA usually occurs in both knees, unless it is the result of an injury or other condition.
  • A person with this condition may notice that:
  • There is pain when walking, especially when climbing a hill or a ladder.
  • The knees lock into position, making it more difficult to straighten the leg.
  • There is a soft squeaky sound when the knee is bent or bent.

The hips
A person with OA in the hips may find that any movement of the hip joint, such as standing or sitting, can cause difficulty or discomfort.
Pain in the hips is a common feature of the disease. OA in the hips can also cause pain in the knee or in the thighs and buttocks.
A person may experience this pain while resting, as well as while walking, for example.
Hands

  • In the hands, OA can develop into:
  • the base of the thumb
  • the upper joint of the other fingers, the one closest to the nail
  • the middle joint of the other fingers
  • A person with the disease may notice:
  • pain, stiffness, and swelling in the fingers
  • Lumps that develop in the finger joints
  • slight lateral flexion in the affected joints
  • Fluid-filled lumps or cysts on the back of the fingers, which can be painful
  • a lump that develops where the thumb meets the wrist, which can make it difficult to write or turn a key

For some people, the pain in the fingers lessens and eventually goes away, although the swelling and lumps remain.
Anyone who experiences joint stiffness and swelling for more than two weeks should see a doctor.
Causes
Doctors don't know the exact cause of osteoarthritis, but it seems to develop when the body is unable to repair joint tissue in the usual way.
It usually affects older people, but it can appear at any age.
Genetic factors
Some genetic characteristics they increase the risk of developing OA. When these features are present, the condition can appear in people as young as 20 years old.
Trauma and overload
A traumatic injury, surgery, or overuse of a joint can undermine the body's ability to carry out routine repairs and can trigger OA, eventually leading to symptoms.
Symptoms of OA can take several years to appear after an injury.
Reasons for overuse or repeated injuries include jobs and sports that involve repetitive movements.
Risk factor's
A series of risk factor'sTrusted source increases the chances of developing OA.

  • Sex: OA is more common among women than men, especially after age 50.
  • OA is a public health problem.
  • AgeSymptoms are more likely to appear after age 40, although OA can develop in younger people after an injury - especially to the knee - or as a result of another joint condition.
  • Obesity- Excess weight can put a strain on weight-bearing joints, increasing the risk of damage.
  • OA is a disorder of the joint.
  • Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive movements in a specific joint increase the risk.
  • Jobs that involve repetitive movements in a specific joint increase the risk.
  • Genetic and hereditary factorsThese can increase the risk in some people.
  • For example, Alzheimer's disease.

Other conditions
Some diseases and conditions make it most likely for a person to develop OA.

  • The inflammatory arthritis, as the gout wave rheumatoid arthritis
  • Paget's disease of bone
  • Septic arthritis
  • Due to misalignment of the knee, hip and ankle
  • have legs of different lengths
  • some joint and cartilaginous abnormalities that are present from birth

Diagnosis
A doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.
No definitive test can diagnose OA, but tests can show if damage has occurred and help rule out other causes.
The tests may include:
X-rays and MRI: They can reveal bone spurs around a joint or a narrowing within a joint, suggesting that the cartilage is breaking down.
Joint fluid analysis: A doctor will use a sterile needle to remove fluid from a swollen joint for testing. This can rule out gout or an infection.
Blood test: They can help rule out other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment
Although no treatment can reverse the damage of OA, some can help relieve symptoms and keep affected joints mobile.
The interventions include exercise, manual therapy, lifestyle modification, and medication.
Medication
Medication can help reduce pain.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
This can relieve pain in people with mild or moderate symptoms. Follow the doctor's instructions, as its excessive use can cause side effects and cause interactions with other medications.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
If acetaminophen doesn't help, your doctor may recommend a stronger pain reliever, which may include ibuprofen, aspirin or diclofenac.
The person can take them orally or topically, applying the medicine directly to the skin.
Capsaicin cream
It is a topical medicine that contains the active compound in chili peppers. It creates a sensation of heat that can reduce the levels of substance P, a chemical that acts as a pain messenger.
Pain relief can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to take effect.
Do not use the cream on broken or inflamed skin, and avoid touching your eyes, face, and genitals after using it.
Intra-articular cortisone injections
Corticosteroid injections into the joint can help control severe pain, swelling, and inflammation. They are effective, but frequent use can lead to adverse effects, such as joint damage and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is an oral drug that can help treat chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Physiotherapy
Various types of physiotherapy can help, including:
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): A TENS unit is attached to the skin with electrodes. Electrical currents pass from the unit through the skin and overload the nervous system, reducing its ability to transmit pain signals.
Thermotherapy: Heat and cold can help reduce joint pain and stiffness. A person could try wrapping a hot water bottle or ice pack in a towel and placing it on the affected joint.
Manual therapy- A physical therapist uses manual techniques to help keep your joints flexible and flexible.
Assistive devices
Various instruments can provide physical support to a person with OA.
Footwear or special insoles can help, if the OA affects the knees, hips or feet, distributing the body weight more evenly. Some cushioning insoles can also reduce pressure on the joints.
A stick or cane It can help take weight off affected joints and can reduce the risk of a fall. The person should use it on the side of the body opposite the OA areas.
Splints, leg braces, and support bandages they can help rest a painful joint. A splint is a piece of rigid material that provides support to the joint or bone.
However, you do not have to wear a splint all the time, as the muscles can weaken without it.
Surgery
Some people may need surgery if OA severely affects the hips, knees, joints, or the bases of the thumbs.
Generally, your doctor will only recommend surgery if other therapies have not helped or if there is severe damage to a joint.
Some useful procedures are:
Arthroplasty
It consists of a surgeon removing the damaged areas and inserting an artificial joint, made of metal and plastic. Some refer to this procedure as a total joint replacement.
The joints most often to be replaced are the hip and knee, but implants can also replace the shoulder, finger, ankle, and elbow joints.
Most people can actively and painlessly use their new joint. However, there is a small risk of infection and bleeding. An artificial joint can also become loose or wear out and eventually need to be replaced.
Arthrodesis
It consists of a surgeon realigning, stabilizing or surgically fixing the joint to promote the fusion of the bones. Increased stability can reduce pain.
A person with a fused ankle joint will be able to put their weight on it without pain, but will not be able to flex it.
Osteotomy
It involves a surgeon removing a small section of bone, either above or below the knee joint. You can realign the leg so that the person's weight is no longer resting so heavily on the damaged part of the joint.
This can help relieve symptoms, but the person may need a knee replacement surgery later.
Complications
The septic arthritis it is a joint inflammation caused by bacteria. Joint replacement surgery slightly increases the risk of this infection.
It is a medical emergency and hospitalization is required. Treatment consists of the administration of antibiotics and drainage of the infected fluid from the joint.
Lifestyle tips
A number of strategies can help relieve OA symptoms. Ask your doctor for advice on proper lifestyle adjustments. They can recommend:
Exercise and weight management.
Water-based exercise helps maintain muscle strength.
Exercise is crucial for:

    • maintain mobility and range of motion
    • improve muscle strength and tone
    • prevent weight gain
    • Build muscles
    • reduce the stress
    • lower the risk of other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease

Current guidelines recommend that everyone do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
A doctor or physical therapist can help develop an exercise program, and it is important to follow their instructions carefully to prevent further damage.
Choose activities that don't put extra stress on your joints. Swimming and other types of water exercises are a good way to stay in shape without putting extra pressure on your joints.
Learn more here on proper exercises for arthritis of the knee.
Assistive devices and adjustments
A loss of mobility due to OA can lead to other problems, such as:

    • an increased risk of falls
    • difficulty performing everyday tasks
    • stress
    • isolation and depression
    • Difficulty working

A physical or occupational therapist can help with these problems. They can recommend:
Assistive devices: Using a walker or cane can help prevent falls.
Adjustments in furniture and home accessories: Taller chairs and devices like levers that make it easier to turn faucet knobs, for example, can help.
Talk to the employer: It may be possible to make workplace adjustments or agree to a more flexible schedule.
Supplements
Some research have suggested that people with low levels of vitamin D are at increased risk for OA. In addition, in people with a low consumption of vitamin C, the disease may progress more quickly.
Low levels of vitamin K and selenium they may also contribute, but confirmation of these findings will require further investigation.
Some people use supplements for OA, including:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • calcium
  • vitamin D

The American College of Rheumatology notes that there is insufficient evidence to support the safety and efficacy of these supplements for OA. They recommend consulting a doctor before using them.
Point of view
OA is a common disease that causes the joints to deteriorate, leading to pain and stiffness. It usually appears during middle age or later.
There is currently no cure, but researchers are looking for ways to slow or reverse the damage. Lifestyle remedies and pain relievers can help control pain.

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