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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Bone, Muscle and Joint Disorders Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other. It also helps absorb shock of movement. In osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. Osteoarthritis occurs most often in older people. Younger people sometimes get osteoarthritis primarily from joint injuries.

Causes 

Factors that might cause it include

 

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Joint injury
  • Joints that are not properly formed
  • A genetic defect in joint cartilage
  • Stresses on the joints from certain jobs and playing sports

Signs & Symptoms

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is mild to severe pain in the joint.

Initially the pain usually occurs following activity, and rest provides relief. In the later stages, pain occurs with minimum movement and even at or after rest.

There may also be swelling and stiffness of the joints, which occurs especially in the morning or after a long rest period.

Diagnosis

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X rays
  • Other tests such as blood tests or exams of the fluid in the joints

Treatment

Osteoarthritis treatment has four main goals:

  • Improve joint function
  • Keep a healthy body weight
  • Control pain
  • Achieve a healthy lifestyle

Others are

  • Exercise
  • Weight control
  • Rest and joint care
  • Nondrug pain relief techniques to control pain
  • Medicines like Diclofenac, Hifenac, Ibuprofen, spray or ointment
  • Complementary and alternative therapies
  • Surgery

Care at Home

  • The joints should be kept active by doing exercise.
  • Healthy diet is necessary not only to shed extra weight but also to remain fit.
  • The patient should follow the doctor’s prescription seriously.
  • Kneepads can be used.