What is osteoarthritis? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, also known as a degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the most common type of arthritis. It is more likely to develop as people age. The changes in osteoarthritis usually occur slowly over many years, though there are occasional exceptions. Inflammation and injury to the joint cause bony changes, deterioration of tendons and ligaments,s and a breakdown of cartilage, resulting in pain, swelling, and deformity of the joint.

What causes osteoarthritis?

The exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of factors, including genetics, obesity, previous joint injury or surgery, and overuse of the joint.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

The symptoms of osteoarthritis vary from person to person, but can include pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range of motion. The pain is often worse with activity or at the end of the day. Symptoms may come and go or may become more constant over time.

How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?

Osteoarthritis is usually diagnosed based on a physical examination and medical history. X-rays may be taken to rule out other causes of joint pain, such as fractures. MRI or CT scans may also be ordered to get a better look at the joints.

How is osteoarthritis treated? There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments that can help relieve the pain and improve joint function. Treatment options include weight loss, exercise, physical therapy, oral or injected medications, and surgery.

What is the outlook for people with osteoarthritis? The outlook for people with osteoarthritis depends on the severity of the disease. For most people, symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications. In some cases, however, the disease progresses and joint damage becomes severe. Surgery may be needed to correct joint damage and relieve pain.

If you are having osteoarthritis, we suggest you contact an orthopaedic specialist.

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