Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis and affects over 20 million individuals within the U.S alone. This disorder usually causes damage to joints in your hands, knees, hips, and spine, but can realistically hurt any joint in your body. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between joints breaks down. Cartilage acts as a sort of cushion between joints, so the degradation of it leads to immense pain, stiffness and swelling. Some specific symptoms of osteoarthritis include1:
- A limited range of motion or stiffness
- A clicking or cracking sound when the joint bends
- Mild swelling around a joint
- Pain that increases after activity or towards the end of the day
These devastating symptoms can make everyday life unbelievably difficult. Those afflicted with osteoarthritis experience almost 30% more falls and have a 20% greater risk of fractures1. The lack of mobility and pain associated with movement may lead to an increased sedentary lifestyle; such inactivity promotes weight gain and puts people at risk for obesity.
While there is no one sole cause for osteoarthritis, certain factors may put you at a higher risk for developing this disorder. These factors include genetics, being overweight, and frequent injuries. In order to properly diagnose osteoarthritis, it is necessary for doctor to perform a physical examination as well as collect family medical history. Once a comprehensive report has been made, the patient will undergo a diagnostic test such as joint aspiration, an X-ray, or an MRI in order to confirm the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, a variety of treatments are available to help alleviate the pain and discomfort that osteoarthritis perpetrates. There is no full cure to osteoarthritis, and it is vital for an individual with this disorder to be diagnosed and provided treatment immediately to minimize damages and increase mobility. If you or a loved one suspect you have this disorder, don’t subject yourself to unnecessary discomfort and pain. It is best to see a professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
1“Osteoarthritis Symptoms.” Www.arthritis.org, www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/symptoms.php.