Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition and a type of arthritis. It is a long-lasting disease and a leading cause of disability. The point where two bones connect is a joint. A protective tissue that connects both the bones is cartilage. Cartilage is a tough but smooth, and slippery tissue that helps the bones to move. OA causes cartilage to break down, which makes both the bones rub together and leads to pain, stiffness and other symptoms. The bone starts to change, and the changes are usually slow, causing the condition to get worse with time.
Mostly, OA is an old-age disease but it can occur in adults of all ages. Wear-and-tear arthritis, degenerative arthritis, and degenerative joint disease are a few names of OA. It occurs in the hands, knees, and hips more often. In some cases, OA reduces body functions and can lead to disability. In some people, its severity can prevent people from performing daily chores.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
The main symptom is pain. Sometimes, it comes in the form of stiffness in the joint. The pain gets worse when you move your joint. Symptoms of OA may vary with no obvious reason.
Sometimes, muscles that are surrounding the joints seem thin. The joint may give way as your muscles get weak and joint structure becomes less stable. OA may occur in any joint but the most commonly affected areas are hands, fingertips, hips, knees, neck and lower back. Some of the common symptoms of Osteoarthritis include:
- Loss of flexibility
- Bone spurs
Reasons of Osteoarthritis:
Causes of OA are primary OA and secondary OA:
1. Primary OA
Primary OA is the result of aging. It is not the effect of any disease or injury. With aging, as a function of the biological process, the watery substance inside cartilage increases and protein makeup degenerates. The cartilage starts degenerating, which the doctors observe through the formation of tiny crevasses and flaking. However, in advanced OA cartilage, the cushion in the center of the joints and bones is completely lost. When the joints wear and you use them repetitively, you can mechanically inflame and irritate the cartilage. This condition can lead to swelling and pain. By losing cartilage cushion, which is in the middle of the bones, you experience friction, which limits joint mobility and can cause severe pain. Inflammation can also cause new bone structures to outgrow surrounding the joints. OA can be genetic and can build up in various members of the family.
2. Secondary OA
When the cause of osteoarthritis is another condition or disease, it can be secondary OA. Conditions leading secondary OA are as below:
- Surgery and trauma to the structure of the joint
- Congenital Abnormalities
- Other hormonal diseases
You can take the example of obesity for a proper elaboration of secondary OA. When a person is obese, their weight causes extreme pressure on the joints when they move, walk, run, etc. The constant and repetitive stress on the bones can lead to OA. After aging, the common cause of OA is obesity. Among weight lifters, the early development of osteoarthritis is common due to massive body weight. In soccer players and army military personnel, continuous trauma to the tissues of joints (bones, cartilage, and ligaments) leads to premature osteoarthritis. In long-distance runners, no osteoarthritis risk is found according to health issues.
Deposits of crystal in cartilage can cause OA and cartilage degeneration. Early cartilage wear and osteoarthritis can also be a result of Hormone disturbances, like diabetes and disorders of growth hormone.
Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritic disease and treatment requires a lot of time, as it is a type of chronic pain. The biggest mistake you can make when you have the symptoms stated above is ignoring the condition and not seeing a specialist. You can always learn more about OA or the treatment of this condition by getting in touch with us.
Give us a call at 646-862-5555 and book an appointment with our pain management specialist Dr. Mathew Grimm. Dr. Grimm is a seasoned specialist who can help you manage pain associated with arthritis.