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.

  • Is walking good for osteoarthritis?

    A: Walking is the best exercise for patients suffering from osteoarthritis as it can help reduce pain and prevent loss of joint mobility. In addition to this, walking can-

    • Help rebuild the joints
    • Strengthen the legs
    • Help lose weight which reduces pressure on the knees
    • Help fight off fatigue and
    • Ease joint pain

    Patients may feel some joint or muscle soreness once they start walking regularly, but this is normal, and there is nothing to worry about. Walking for even five minutes a day can do wonders for osteoarthritis patients. 

    Want to get checked for osteoarthritis? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What happens if osteoarthritis is left untreated?

    A: If you leave osteoarthritis untreated, the cushioning cartilage present in-between your joints will start breaking down, causing your symptoms to become severe. 

    As the cartilage breaks down, your bones start to rub against each other, causing direct damage to the bones. 

    You must begin treatment for the disease at the earliest to prevent damage to your cartilage and bones. Ignoring your symptoms, primarily the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis, will not make the symptoms go away. In fact, you will find your symptoms becoming worse over time. 

    Don't neglect osteoarthritis and the symptoms that come with it? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist and get the right treatment today.

  • What causes osteoarthritis to flare up?

    A: While the exact cause of a flare-up is not yet clear, it is generally believed that an injury or trauma to the joint affected by osteoarthritis is responsible for a flare-up. 

    A flare-up of osteoarthritis can also be caused by-

    • Cold weather
    • High levels of stress
    • Injuries caused by exercising
    • Repetitive movements
    • A sudden decrease in barometric pressure
    • Weight gain
    • Infections

    Keep in mind that an osteoarthritis flare-up is usually temporary, and you will be able to handle the symptoms with proper treatment and medication.

    To know more about how you can keep your osteoarthritis under control, book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What is best exercise for arthritic knees?

    A: If you have arthritic knees, then regular exercise can help to reduce pain, stiffness and swelling of the joint. 

    Gentle, low impact exercises are best for arthritic knees. Such activities reduce stress on the knee joint and increase its strength and flexibility. Walking is an ideal example of an exercise that is suited for arthritic knees. 

    Not only is it low-impact but is also a weight-bearing exercise, which helps build bones and strengthens the knee's muscles. You can also try stretching exercises, yoga and pilates as an alternative to walking.

    However, you should always begin slowly and then steadily increase your speed and distance. And make sure to consult a medical professional before trying any treatment. 

    Need treatment for your arthritic knees? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

  • What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis?

    A: Osteoarthritis is not a curable disease. However, different treatments are available to manage its symptoms like pain, stiffness and swelling.

    Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve osteoarthritis pain and reduce joint damage. If you are overweight, exercise will help you lose weight, putting less stress on the affected joints. 

    Exercising with osteoarthritis also strengthens the heart and makes the lungs more efficient. This helps reduce fatigue and build stamina. 

    However, this does not mean that you indulge in strenuous exercises. Begin by doing simple stretches, followed by walking. Even five or ten minutes of walking will bring a significant change in your condition. 

    Need guidance to manage your osteoarthritis successfully? Book an appointment with a Medcare specialist today.

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