After the rain, the sun will reappear. There is life. After the pain, the joy will still be here. – Walt Disney

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. When the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time, you suffer from osteoarthritis. Although any joint may be affected this way, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Possible Causes: 

Osteoarthritis happens when the protective cartilage at the ends of your bones wears down over time. This disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine and causes inflammation of the joint lining. 

Osteoarthritis causes changes in the entire bone and deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attach muscle to bone. The following factors could be osteoarthritis causes: 

  • Age. 
  • A sedentary lifestyle. 
  • Obesity. 

Staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and following treatments go a long way in slowing down the disease and improve pain and joint function. 

Risk Factors:

Factors that can increase your risk of osteoarthritis include: 

  • The risk of getting osteoarthritis increases with age. 
  • Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn't clear why. 
  • Your hips and knees bear the load of your weight so increased weight adds stress to your joints. Further fat tissue produces proteins that inflame the area around your joints. 
  • Sports injuries or injuries from accidents of the joints can increase the risk of osteoarthritis, even though they may have healed. 
  • Repeated stress on the joint may develop into osteoarthritis. 
  • Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis. 
  • Birth defects like bone deformities or defective cartilage. 
  • Metabolic diseases like diabetes and hemochromatosis. 

Signs & Symptoms:  

Osteoarthritis symptoms are slow to develop and may include the following: 

  • Pain in your joints during or after some activity. 
  • Joint stiffness after being inactive for some time. 
  • You may become less flexible. 
  • You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint. 
  • Extra bits of bone like hard lumps can form around the affected joint. 
  • You may feel swelling and tenderness due to inflammation of the joint especially when you apply light pressure on the joint. 

Diagnosis:  

An osteoarthritis diagnosis entails: 

  • A physical examination for checking your affected joints for redness, swelling and flexibility. 
  • The rheumatologist may recommend X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to gauge bone spurs around a joint or issues with cartilage. 
  • Blood tests and joint fluid analysis help to isolate the cause of joint pain and can confirm the diagnosis. 

Treatment Options:  

Once osteoarthritis has set in, it can't be reversed, though medications and therapy can alleviate the symptoms. So what is the best treatment for osteoarthritis? Schedule a consultation with a specialist at Medcare to create an osteoarthritis treatment plan best suited to you. Medications are used to treat chronic osteoarthritis pain. Injections of medications or steroids may be used to control the pain in the joints.

A physiotherapist can guide about exercises to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint, increase your flexibility and reduce pain. An occupational therapist can help with everyday tasks without putting pressure on the painful joint.

An osteotomy surgery, that cuts and reshapes your bones, can be helpful if osteoarthritis has damaged one side of the knee more than the other. Another surgical treatment option is an arthroplasty, where the surgeon removes the damaged joint parts and replaces them with artificial joints. 

FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • I have early stage osteoarthritis, and I work long hours at my office desk. What can I do on working days to prevent my condition from worsening? I have early stage osteoarthritis, and I work long hours at my office desk. What can I do on working days to prevent my condition from worsening?

    A: While working, try to give your muscles and joints frequent breaks. A break could mean stopping a repetitive action, standing, stretching or walking around. Keep your feet flat on the floor and position your computer monitor at eye level so you don't need to bend your neck. Use an office chair that provides support to your lower back.  

  • What foods should be avoided in this condition?

    A: Fried and processed foods should be avoided as also meat and dairy as they aggravate inflammation in your joints. Get your protein from vegetables like spinach, tofu, beans and lentils. Consumption of alcohol, especially beer in large quantities will not be helpful in your treatment for osteoarthritis.

  • Is exercise helpful if my knees are afflicted by osteoarthritis?

    A: Yes, exercise will help you to build and maintain muscle strength. Strong muscles can support and protect joints that are affected. Regularly swimming, walking or cycling will be good for you. Exercise helps to maintain the joint's full range of motion, and to keep your weight under control, which reduces the pressure on your knees.

  • I've always been overweight and now suffer from osteoarthritis. Is it important to lose weight now?

    A: Yes, your extra weight increases the strain on weight-bearing joints, such as knees and hips. Weight loss will relieve some of the pressure and reduce your pain. Discuss the right osteoarthritis diet with your doctor and dietician.