Your Ultimate Guide To Dealing With Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis: What You Should Know

Osteoarthritis is also called Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). It is the name for a group of common, wear-and-tear conditions of the joints. They are caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage and worn-out surfaces in joint replacements. 

Osteoarthritis causes your joints to lose flexibility and become stiff; sometimes they click or crack when you move. The most common joints affected are those in your fingers, knuckles, shoulders, hips and spine. Other joints are also sometimes affected.

Osteoarthritis typically affects people over age 45 and becomes more common with increasing age due to wear and tear on the joint. This can be due to injury, repetitive stress or overuse that causes pain and stiffness in the joint. Osteoarthritis may also be related to injury or trauma to a joint that occurred long ago (chronic).

In osteoarthritis, the underlying cause is breakdown of the joint cartilage and underlying bone. This occurs because the body makes less new cartilage as it ages, while other tissues continue to increase in size (bone and muscle). The result is that the cartilage becomes thinner and less able to cushion the bones that form joints.

Osteoarthritis is more common in women than men, possibly because women have wider hips than men and this puts greater strain on the joints during walking. Women also tend to have more curvature of the spine (lordosis) which puts more stress on the vertebral joints.

The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain. The pain may be constant or it may occur only after you have been active for some time. You may also have tenderness or stiffness in your joints. As the disease progresses, you may feel less able to move freely or perform tasks that require mobility.

Osteoarthritis treatments are designed to relieve symptoms and improve mobility without surgery or medication (nonsurgical treatment options). These include:

Physical therapy — exercises designed to improve mobility and reduce pain

Weight loss — if excess weight is contributing to your symptoms

Braces or splints — to support injured joints

Osteoarthritis isn’t contagious. Your risk of getting osteoarthritis increases if you have a family history of it or if you’ve had previous joint injuries or surgeries involving your knees or hips. Other factors that may increase your risk include obesity, smoking and excessive use of alcohol or certain drugs (such as steroids).

There are different treatment options for osteoarthritis, including medications, injections and physical therapy. In addition, you can do exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility around your joints.

Physical therapy for osteoarthritis involves exercises that improve range of motion and flexibility in affected joints. It also includes strengthening exercises for muscles surrounding an affected joint.

Exercise helps strengthen muscles around the knee, which can help support the joint. It may also reduce pain by increasing blood flow to the area. Doctors recommend walking, cycling or swimming for 30 minutes five days a week as part of a healthy lifestyle for people with osteoarthritis.

Knee braces may provide some support for inflamed joints. These are often used temporarily when there is swelling or pain after an injury or during sports activities that put pressure on your knees.

Here are some exercises that may help ease symptoms of knee OA:

Walking: Walking is a great way to get up and move when you have knee OA. Start by walking around your home, then work up to going outside or taking longer walks in a mall or park if possible. Always walk at a comfortable pace — not too fast or too slow — and make sure you have good footwear that provides support and cushioning for your feet and knees.

Water aerobics or aqua jogging: These can be beneficial because water supports your body weight as opposed to land-based exercises like running or jumping jacks where gravity can make things worse for people with knee pain from OA. They also provide resistance against the water’s resistance which helps strengthen muscles

Overall, OA is a systemic disease. Poorly managed OA can affect the individual’s ability to function fully in society and may also impact their quality of life. The two main forms of treatment for OA are rest and pain management. There are several exercise programs that have proven effective at improving many pain symptoms associated with OA.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 27 million individuals in the US alone. It is a chronic disease characterized by cartilage breakdown and joint degeneration but unlike rheumatoid arthritis, has few inflammatory cells. OA mainly occurs in the hands, knee, and hips followed by other areas of the body. The symptoms include pain, weakness, stiffness and loss of function. Today there are numerous treatment options available for osteoarthritis including exercise programs, medications, injections like hyaluronic acid which at times can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation in the joints but they are not permanent solutions. Osteoarthritis can significantly interfere with the quality of life thus early diagnosis is important along with pain management therapy to keep it in check.

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