There are over 100 joint conditions grouped under the arthritis name, though osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most common. It’s a degenerative disease that occurs as cartilage tissue breaks down. Osteoarthritis can be an uncomfortable nuisance, or severe enough to cause significant disability.
Some of the risk factors for OA are unavoidable, but it’s not inevitable that you’ll develop the condition as you get older, and you can make lifestyle choices to avoid some risks. When OA’s pain and mobility limitations interfere with your enjoyment of life, touch base with the team at Bahri Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic to develop an arthritis management plan.
Nearly 33 million Americans suffer from OA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The condition starts as the cartilage covering the ends of bones in joints starts to wear down. This starts changes to the surface of bones at the site of cartilage erosion, leading to discomfort, pain, and finally bone on bone contact.
Affected joints can be swollen and stiff, and your range of mobility may become limited. Usually, OA starts slowly and, without treatment, it becomes worse with each of its symptoms becoming more severe.
Though not everyone gets OA as they get older, age is still the most common risk factor for developing the condition. Women are more often affected by OA than men, though researchers don’t know why this is the case. Other OA risk factors include:
Sometimes, the onset causes of OA can’t be pinpointed. While the primary effect of OA is on the cartilage, all components of a joint may be affected as the disease progresses.
Though OA can make activities uncomfortable or painful, gentle activities like walking and swimming can help your body slow the degenerative effects of the condition. Physical and occupational therapy also helps to increase flexibility and range of motion while simultaneously reducing pain for some patients.
Drug therapies include over-the-counter and prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Injections of corticosteroids can relieve pain and reduce swelling, but these treatments are limited. Cortisone can increase joint damage if over-administered.
In the most advanced cases, OA can be treated surgically to realign joints or replace joints completely with prosthetic implants. Contemporary surgical techniques minimize the size of incisions and reduce the impact of surgery on tissue surrounding the affected joint.
When OA starts to affect daily living, you need the services of an arthritis specialist. The orthopedic surgeons at Bahri Orthopedics and Sports Medicine clinic are welcome additions to your arthritis management team. Contact the most convenient office in Jacksonville or St. Augustine, by phone or online, to schedule a consultation with an arthritis expert today.