Osteoarthritis

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Overview

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the large joints of the body. Joints are the part of the body where two bones connect and allow for movement of the limbs, such as the elbow, hip, shoulder, and knee.

Causes

Osteoarthritis occurs because the soft layer of cartilage tissue that is present at the ends of bones starts to degenerate. When the protective cartilage degenerates, bone starts rubbing against bone with every movement, and this leads to friction and pain in the joint.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this health condition are the following:

  • Pain in movement
  • Tenderness over the joint
  • Joint stiffness
  • Grating sensation on the movement of the joint
  • Extra bits of bone may form around the affected joint; these are called bone spurs
  • Decreased range of motion of the affected joint

Diagnosis

After a thorough history and physical checkup, the following tests can aid in the confirmation of the diagnosis of osteoarthritis:

Treatment

Treating osteoarthritis is very necessary because it leads to severe impairment of function and the patient’s day to day activities are severely affected. The following treatment modalities are used to manage osteoarthritis:

  • Painkillers – Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Duloxetine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Yoga
  • Corticosteroid injections into the joint
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Lubrication injections
  • Lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise)
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