Osteoarthritis: Everything you need to know

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints and the spine resulting in pain and stiffness. It is often characterized by progressive destruction of the articular cartilage and the formation of osteophytes. It is a chronic degenerative joint disease that mainly affects the knees and hips.

 

Which joints are most often affected by osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis most commonly affects joints in your:

  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Hands
  • Neck and lower back
  • Shoulders

What are the risk factors of osteoarthritis?

There are several factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Those factors include:

  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Sex (women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis)
  • Genetics
  • Joint trauma
  • People suffering from certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis 

Osteoarthritis can cause intense and persistent symptoms in the affected joints. The main symptoms are:

  • Pain in the affected joints. In the beginning, one can feel tired after intense activity. But then, the pain becomes constant and more intense with every move of the joint
  • Joint stiffness might be noticeable after physical inactivity for a certain period. At the beginning, stiffness can be mild, and then, it becomes more intense and constant until the joint completely loses its mobility. 
  • Swelling and deformity of the joint
  • Grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints

Treatment

The goal of osteoarthritis treatment is to help relieve the patient from the symptoms and improve the mobility of the joint. At the early stages, the doctor may recommend either non-drug therapies or medication. The non-pharmacological treatment includes resting, weight loss, and physiotherapy.

In the pharmacological treatment, the doctor may suggest pain relief medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In more severe cases, where the joint has severe deformities or is damaged, the doctor may recommend surgery.

Preventing osteoarthritis

To prevent osteoarthritis, it is recommended to:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight as the weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips are affected
  • Exercise
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities

For further information on osteoarthritis and its treatment, please contact the Orthopaedic Surgeon Petros Boundogiannis for a clinical examination.