Overview

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis. It is also known as degenerative joint disease. It arises when cartilage that serves as a cushion for the bones deteriorates with time. It is a disease that affects any joint, however it is more likely to occur in joints located in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. It can cause pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity of the joint.

Symptoms

It is common for the symptoms of osteoarthritis to develop gradually and progress as time goes by.

  • Pain in the damaged joints during or after movement.
  • Morning stiffness in the affected joints.
  • Tenderness can be felt in the joint when mild pressure is applied.
  • Limitation of motion (or flexibility) may be experienced when moving the joints with its complete range of motion becomes impossible or troublesome.
  • Swelling may be caused by the inflammation of soft tissue around the joint.
  • Bone spurs are the growing of extra bone that may feel like hard lumps. Bone spurs can develop around the joints that are damaged from osteoarthritis.
  • Grating sensation may occur when using the joint and popping or crackling sound could be heard.

If pain or stiffness in the joint are not relieved, consulting a doctor regarding the issue is recommended.

Causes

Osteoarthritis develops from degeneration of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is a firm rubbery cushion made up of slippery textured tissue that covers the end of bones in the joints. The primary function of cartilage is to reduce friction in the joints. If the cartilage is injured it can undergo some repair, however the body does not grow new cartilage after the injury. And when the cartilage totally wears down, the bone will rub on bone.

Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease. Not only the cartilage but the whole joint is also affected by the disease. Bones changes, connective tissues deterioration, and joint lining inflammation develop in osteoarthritis.

Risk factors

  • Older age are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Women are more likely to develop the disease.
  • Obesity increases the risk of developing the disease in many ways. Being overweight puts stress to the weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. Moreover, obesity may cause inflammation in the joints and lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injury that occurs during sports or from an accident can damage a joint and elevate the risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Repetitive stress on the joint from occupation or sport may lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics as some patients inherit a tendency of developing osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities when patients are born with joint malformation or defective cartilage.
  • Certain metabolic disease such as diabetes which can cause the inflammatory response in the body and increase the risk of osteoarthritis.