What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions of joint pain. Osteoarthritis is caused due to age, injury, and in some cases obesity too. Osteoarthritis Causes severe pain in the joints which is the place where two bones meet. The protective tissue that covers the bones called cartilage gets damaged resulting in two bones to rub against each other. This is the main reason for Osteoarthritis. There are two major types of osteoarthritis that can be Diagnosed.
- Primary Osteoarthritis: This is one of the most commonly Diagnosed Osteoarthritis which happens mostly due to wear and tear of the joints. Due to this, the primary Osteoarthritis is mostly associated with age. Since this is most common with age, it is almost inevitable to get Osteoarthritis as a person gets older. Mostly this affects hands, feet, and knee joints however, it may also affect multiple other points too.
- Secondary Osteoarthritis: This condition results in a change in the cartilage. Some of the examples are trauma, joint abnormalities, and infections. Some of them may also result in Rheumatoid Arthritis and gout.
Osteoarthritis Signs and Symptoms often go unnoticed as they are very slow to show. Some of the Signs and Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain: Slight pain in the joints that are affected and difficulty in movement
- Stiffness: Stiff joints as soon as a person wakes up or after being at rest for a long time.
- Tender Joints: While touching, the joints might feel very soft.
- Rigid Joints: The affected joints might not have a full range of movements
- Swelling: The tissues around the joints might swell leading to inflammation
What are Osteoarthritis Risk Factors?
Some of the common Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis are the following:
- Trauma: A damaged or broken bone due to an accident or a sporting activity can lead to an injured joint due to excessive wear and tear.
- Obesity: Knees can support approximately 3-6 times a person’s body weight. The more the body weight, the more work for the knees, and for a long period of time, this leads to injured joints.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Lifestyle disorder is one of the main reasons for Osteoarthritis. A sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain which leads to more wear and tears on the joints. Therefore, regular exercise and low impact activities are important for healthy joints.
- Heredity: Studies have shown that people with a family history of Osteoarthritis have a high possibility of getting it too.
- Other Conditions: Any Diseases that can lead to stress or inflammation of joints such as rheumatoid arthritis can lead to Osteoarthritis later on.
The main cause of Osteoarthritis is the damage to the joints. Over a period of time, the damage gets worse leading to severe Osteoarthritis. With age, wear and tear of the muscles also increase leading to more damage. Apart from this some of the other Causes include:
- Cartilage Tear
- Joint Dislocation
- Injured Ligaments
Some of the other factors that contribute are:
- Poor Posture
- Joint Malformation
How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis Diagnosis is usually a physical examination. The Physiotherapist doctor checks the joints for tenderness, swelling, and any flexibility.
X-rays: X-rays are mainly used for detecting any spurs on a joint. Any cartilage loss might now be shown on the X-Rays and further examination will be done using an MRI,
MRI: An MRI makes use of a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the bone and soft tissues.
Some tests for Osteoarthritis may include a blood test and a joint fluid analyse to check for any infections.
How is Osteoarthritis Treated?
Depending on the level of joint damage, medicine for osteoarthritis is given. Most of the doctors begin Treatment with a simple non-invasive process. They start by giving a prescription of osteoarthritis medications. However, at times when this is not enough, it is important to take more intensive Treatment to effectively combat osteoarthritis, like:
Changes in lifestyle can lead to major changes in the impact of osteoarthritis. Some of the simple practices that can be followed are:
- Exercise: This is very helpful to ensure that the joints remain healthy, to activate all the joints, reduce stiffness and fatigue, improve the overall bone strength and also to get a good balance in case of falls. There is no need to do complicated exercise. A simple exercise like swimming or walking can make a lot of difference. Aerobics is also another form of exercise that keeps your muscles active and at the same time increases blood flow to the muscles.
- Balanced Diet: Eating healthy food helps in taking care of your bone health. Once you eat healthy food, you lose weight which helps in the effective management of osteoarthritis. It is very important to lose weight to reduce pressure on the joints. A healthy diet also plays a major role in the body to get all its nutrients and helps in muscle recovery too.
- Rest: If your joints have been active for a long time, giving them rest can help in reducing the possibility of swelling. A good night’s sleep can definitely help in taking care of your joints.
Artificial joint fluid is injected into the affected knee. The osteoarthritis Treatment involves injecting a series of injections and not a single dose one. This helps keep the joints lubricated and they move easily once some lubrication is available.
Therapy is also another Osteoarthritis cure that has been found to be effective. It can be very helpful to improve the strength of the muscles, reduce pain, improve balance, and also increase the range of motion in case of stiff muscles.
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How can Osteoarthritis be Prevented?
Here are a few tips that you can follow for osteoarthritis Prevention:
- Proper Support: It is important to get good support for your body and ensure that you use the proper gear for supporting your body during any activity.
- Keep your weight in check: Since obesity is one of the main reasons for joint wear and tear, maintaining a proper weight can help in managing the same.
- Healthy Diet and Rest: Eating food that improves our health and getting good sleep can contribute to keeping your joints in check and save you from a trip to the rheumatologist.