disease, osteoarthrosis, and osteoarthritis
are all the same disease characterized by the joint cartilage breakdown causing painful and stiff joints
. Literally translated as inflammation of the joints, osteoarthritis is part of the family of diseases known as arthritis
which refers to 100 various diseases. Osteoarthritis commonly causes disability. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are effective treatment options.
Osteoarthritis often only strikes one joint, usually a joint that bear a lot of stress such as the hip, back, knee
, or hand
joints. Symptoms include pain, painful use of the joint, painful periods after the joint has been used, joint discomfort during significant changes in the weather, swelling
in a joint, stiffness of the joint, bony lumps in the hand and finger joints, a decreased amount of joint flexibility.
The cartilage between joints is supposed to be smooth to allow joints to easily slide over it while in use. Over time some people lose this smoothness of the cartilage and there is a rough, sandpaper like appearance to the joints. This means that the joints can no longer slide gently over the cartilage.
This is osteoarthritis. The cause is time and age and the eventual wearing down of the joint’s cartilage, but it is not necessarily easy to indicate who will suffer from osteoarthritis and who won’t. Joint stress, injury, and heredity tend to play a role in these factors, but it is not an absolute.
Bony growth in osteoarthritis patients is the result of the body’s attempt to repair the joint. Instead of being able to repair the joint, the body makes it more difficult with the addition of these bony growths.
OSTEOARTHRITIS RISK FACTOR
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include gender, as osteoarthritis strikes more females than male, age, as osteoarthritis is typically found in people over 45 years of age, joint injuries especially those related to sports, obesity
, diseases that cause malformations or disfigurement of the bone
structure, weakened quadriceps, and other forms of arthritis.
Physical examinations can often determine the presence of osteoarthritis. In some cases a physician may take a list of physical complaints, a physical examination, blood
tests which rule out other varieties of arthritis, X-rays, MRI
, and other various imaging techniques to determine the presence of osteoarthritis. Imaging can reveal the cartilage loss and the development of boney growth which is indicative of osteoarthritis.
The greatest complication related to osteoarthritis is pain, as often the pain can be so detrimental that it is crippling and prevents mobility or the use of the joint. It is not uncommon for a patient to experience acute and intense pain for the first year of living with osteoarthritis only to have it diminish to reasonable levels. Pain medications are often more intense for the first year of living with osteoarthritis but can cause complications of their own if used for too long. Thus, pain medications are only used when absolutely necessary.
There is no actual cure for osteoarthritis, although there are treatment options available. When the pain is intolerable for more than a year, most physicians recommend replacing the joint. Joint replacement technology has improved dramatically over the past few years and most joint replacements have been done with wonderful success. Other pain relieving options include topical pain relievers, some of which are prescription strength, NSAIDS to help with both the pain and the inflammation, as well as other over the counter pain relievers. Corticosteroid injections can often relieve joint pain
for a reasonable amount of time, but are not typically used as a regular therapy for more than a period of one or two years. Low dose antidepressants have been proven to relieve pain without the side effects of narcotics. These medications are prescribed in doses low enough to prevent the effects of antidepressants while still providing pain relief
. There are some anticonvulsants that will provide the same type of pain relief even if the patient has no signs of depression
, repositioning bones, and scraping out joints are also common surgical procedures used in the treatment of osteoarthritis. These procedures are often done in people under 60 who would otherwise require a joint replacement. Because joint replacements are only equipped to last between ten and fifteen years, it is not uncommon to try to correct the problem with a variety of surgical procedures first.
Proper nutrition, the application of heat, therapeutic massage, healthy weight loss
, daily exercise, and proper footwear can all have a positive impact on joints that are inflamed form osteoarthritis. Applying cold compresses to flare ups can help alleviate overuse pain. Though arthritis of any type can be very painful, sitting still and doing nothing can make the pain of osteoarthritis much worse.