What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that features the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, feet, spine, and large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.
Osteoarthritis often has no known cause and is referred to as primary osteoarthritis. When the cause of the osteoarthritis is known, the condition is referred to as secondary osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the affected joint(s) after repetitive use. Joint pain of osteoarthritis is usually worse later in the day. There can be swelling, warmth, and creaking of the affected joints.
Pain and stiffness of the joints can also occur after long periods of inactivity (for example, sitting in a theatre). In severe osteoarthritis, complete loss of the cartilage cushion causes friction between bones, causing pain even at rest or pain with limited motion.
Suggestions for treating osteoarthritis
The goal of treatment in osteoarthritis is to reduce joint pain and stiffness while improving and maintaining joint function. Some patients with osteoarthritis have minimal or no pain and may not need treatment.
Others may benefit from conservative measures such as rest,exercise, diet control with weight reduction, osteopathy, remedial massage, and mechanical support devices, such as knee braces. Supplements such as glucosamine sulphate have shown to reduce joint pain in people with osteoarthritis.
In severe cases patients are referred to an orthopedic surgeon for assessment and possible surgery.
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