Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints. There are about
100 types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common kind. It is a long-term,
(chronic), degenerative joint disease. Degenerative means that it gets worse over time.
It affects mostly middle-aged and older adults. OA causes the breakdown of joint
cartilage. It can occur in any joint. But it most often affects the hands, knees, hips,
can be called primary or secondary. Primary OA has no known cause. Secondary OA is
caused by another disease, infection, injury, or deformity. OA starts with the breakdown
of cartilage in the joint. As the cartilage wears down, the bone ends may thicken and
form bony growths. These growths are called bone spurs. Bone spurs can limit joint
movement. Bits of bone and cartilage may float in the joint space. Fluid-filled cysts
may form in the bone. These can also limit joint movement.
risk factors of OA include:
most common symptom of OA is pain after overuse or inactivity of a joint. Symptoms
usually happen slowly over years. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person.
They may include:
symptoms of OA can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your healthcare
provider for a diagnosis.
process starts with a health history and a physical exam. You may also have X-rays. This
test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of bone and other body
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on
how severe the condition is. The goal of treatment is to ease joint pain and stiffness,
and improve joint movement. Treatment may include:
with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of
Because OA causes joints to get worse over time, it can cause disability. It can cause
pain and movement problems. These can make you less able to do normal daily activities
Although there is no cure for OA, it is important to help keep joints functioning. You
can ease pain and inflammation. Work on a treatment plan with your healthcare provider.
The plan may include medicine and therapy. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve
your quality of life. These may include:
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your healthcare provider know.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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