Osteoarthritis
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What is Osteoarthritis?

Articular cartilage is the tissue located at the end of bones. It can deteriorate over time. This causes a common condition called osteoarthritis. It becomes worse over time. It can be debilitating.

Normally, cartilage is the shock absorber in a joint. It absorbs energy from jarring movement, protecting the bone and other tissue in the area. Cartilage is naturally an exceedingly slippery material. It helps the joint glide smoothly. When the cartilage begins to show wear and tear, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed and painful. This makes the joint stiff.

Joints Affected by Osteoarthritis
Joints Affected by Osteoarthritis
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Osteoarthritis is an extremely common ailment of aging. In fact, it’s the most common joint condition throughout the world. Researchers believe that there are more than 20 million people...

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop osteoarthritis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing osteoarthritis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask yourdoctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Specific Lifestyle Factor

  • Weakness of the thigh muscles may increase your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee. Exercises that strengthen the thigh muscles may provide some protection against osteoarthritis.

Medical Condition

You have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis if you have or have had:

  • Past injury to a joint
  • Previous surgery to the joint
  • History of infection in a...

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include the following:

  • Pain in the joint
  • Most commonly affected joints are those of the knee, hip, hand, or spine
  • Pain usually increases when the joint is used or stressed
  • Pain is usually decreased by resting the joint
  • May be described as a dull, achy pain or a sharper, stabbing sensation
  • Stiffness
  • Stiffness can make everyday activities difficult, such as leaning down to pick something up, putting on shoes, opening a jar, walking, or climbing stairs.
  • Stiffness occurs first thing in the morning is common, usually lasting under 30 minutes after you resume activity.
  • Stiffness after any period of inactivity is common (such as after sitting still for a couple of hours in a movie theater or on an airplane).
  • Stiffness...

Osteoarthritis is usually diagnosed after your doctor has taken a careful history of your symptoms. A physical exam will be done. There are no definitive lab blood tests to make an absolute diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Certain tests, specifically x-rays of the joint, may confirm your doctor’s impression that you have developed osteoarthritis.

X-ray examination of an affected joint—A joint with osteoarthritis will have lost some of the normal space that exists between the bones. This space is called the joint space. This joint space is made up of articular cartilage, which becomes thin. There may be tiny new bits of bone (bone spurs) visible at the end of the bones. Other signs of joint and bone deterioration may also be present. X-rays , however, may not show very much in the...

There are no real methods for preventing the development of osteoarthritis. However, following certain preventive measures may slow its progression. Such measures include:

Maintain an Appropriate Weight

Keep your weight in an appropriate range for your age, height, and body type. Carrying excess body weight can put increased stress on your bones and joints. By maintaining a healthful weight, you can reduce the stress on your body.

Avoid Certain Activities

Although exercise is good for your body, you may want to avoid activities that might injure your joints or that require intense, repetitive joint motion, or repetitive stress on “at risk” joints.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D . This will help build strong bones.

**Begin an...

American College of Rheumatology

Address:

PO Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357-0669

Phone:

1-404-633-3777
1-800-568-4045

Internet Address:

http://www.rheumatology.org

Description of services provided:

This site has fact sheets about various arthritic conditions, as well as information on recent research and upcoming conferences. There are also fact sheets offering descriptions of the roles played by various healthcare team members. You can access a listing of members by geographic area.

Arthritis Foundation

Address:

1330 West Peachtree St.
Atlanta, GA 30309

Phone:

1-800-568-4045

Internet Address:

http://www.arthritis.org

Description of services provided:

Look here for a wealth of information about types...

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