Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis; it is the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints.
Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a “cushion” between the bones of the joints.
It starts with the softening of the smooth cartilage surface, which becomes pitted and frayed. Unlike most of the body’s tissues, which are able to regrow when damaged, cartilage has a very limited blood supply, which hampers its ability to repair itself.
Osteoarthritis commonly affects;
- The hands
- Large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees
Osteoarthritis can be caused by the following;
- Wear and tear on the joints
- Inherited condition
- Injury from trauma
- Disease caused osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently with advancing age and occurs in different locations throughout the body.
Symptoms and signs may include;
- Crackling joints
- Hand Pain
- Hip Pain
- Joint Pain
- Joint Deformity
- Knee Pain
- Loss of range if motion
- Joint stiffness
- Swollen joints
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
Often, lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medication and home remedies will be enough to provide relief from pain, stiffness and swelling.
At home treatment and lifestyle changes for osteoarthritis include;
- Exercise – physical activity strengthens the muscles around the joint and may help relieve stiffness
- Weight Loss – losing excess weight helps relieve the pressure and reduces pain
- Adequate Sleep – resting muscles can reduce swelling and inflammation
- Heat and Cold Therapy – heat and cold therapy can relieve muscle pain and stiffness
For those that are experiencing extreme pain that cannot be alleviated by home treatment and lifestyle change, doctors may recommend joint surgery. Joint surgery can improve function or replace damaged joints to restore mobility and relieve pain.
Hips and knees are the joints most commonly replaced. An orthopedic surgeon can determine the best procedure based on how badly the damaged joint is.
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