By Dr. Kunal Makhija, Orthopaedics
In medical terms, Osteoarthritis is referred to a disease of the joints. It mostly affects the cartilage or the slippery tissue, which helps to cover the ends of bones in a joint. A proper cartilage helps in gliding of the bones one over the other. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage’s top layer gets damaged or breaks down. This leads to rubbing of the bones and swelling, pain or loss of motion. As the time passes by, the joint may lose its shape. There is also a possibility of developing bone spurs from the edges of the joint. This causes pain and damage.
People suffering from osteoarthritis often complain of joint pain and experience reduced motion. Unlike the other kinds of arthritis, this affects only the joints and does not interfere with the working of internal organs. It is the most common form of arthritis. It mainly occurs in older people. In younger ones, osteoarthritis may occur due to joint injuries.
- Excess body weight or obesity
- Old age
- Joint injury
- Improper formation of joints
- Defective genes
- Stress on the joints
What are the symptoms?
It can develop in any joint in the body. But it mainly occurs in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. The symptoms that indicate towards its occurrence are as follows:
- Stiffness in a joint, especially as you get out of bed or sit for a long period of time
- Swelling or tenderness in the joints
- A crunching feeling
- Sound of bone rubbing
It cannot be diagnosed by a single test. It takes several methods to detect its symptoms. Therefore, a combination of tests are conducted, including physical examination, X-rays, blood tests or examination of the fluid in the joints.
How Is It Treated?
It requires a combination of treatments to meet a patient’s needs, as per his or her lifestyle, and health. The treatment has four main goals:
- To improve function of the joints
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- It is important to control the pain
- Efforts to achieve a healthy lifestyle
The treatment plan or sketch will involve focus on the following things:
- Weight control
- Rest and joint care
- Techniques to get relief from pain without the use of drugs