Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease that affects millions of people around the world. It is a common type of arthritis that affects the joints, causing pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that can cause a gradual loss of joint function and mobility as it progresses. OA is the most common form of arthritis and can affect anyone, but is more common among older adults. It is also more common in women than in men.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage, the rubbery material that cushions the ends of bones in a joint. As the cartilage begins to wear away, the underlying bone is exposed and starts to rub against other bone, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Other factors that can contribute to the development of OA include age, family history, obesity, and prior joint injury.
The main symptom of OA is joint pain. Other common symptoms include joint stiffness, swelling, reduced range of motion, and grinding or creaking of the joint. The symptoms of OA can become worse with activity and improve with rest.
The treatment of OA depends on the severity of the symptoms. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and swelling. Physical therapy and exercise can help to keep the joints flexible and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Joint injections can also be used to reduce inflammation and improve pain. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the joint.
There are a number of lifestyle changes that can help to reduce the pain and stiffness associated with OA. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce stress on the joints. Regular exercise and stretching can also help to strengthen the muscles and keep the joints flexible. Additionally, applying heat or cold to the affected joint can help to reduce pain and swelling.