Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints. As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis develops when cartilage that forms smooth joint surfaces for easy, pain-free movement begins to break down. This most commonly occurs in the spine, hips, knees and hands.
Millions of adults over the age of 65 are affected by osteoarthritis, and statistics show that the numbers are increasing. The disease is also becoming prevalent in adults under 65, likely due to obesity and aggressive sports and exercise regimens, which both put stress on the joints. Other causes of osteoarthritis include inherited joint defects and injury.
Symptoms include pain after repeated use of the joint, pain and stiffness with inactivity, reduced movement of the joint and feeling of bone on bone movement.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis
When a patient presents with the above symptoms, your physician is able to check for a diagnosis of osteoarthritis by reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical exam and taking x-rays. Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, severity and general health, and may include:
- Gentle exercise
- Therapeutic heat treatment
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Guidance in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking internal and topical medicines
- Injections into the joints that act like naturally occurring joint fluid
- Joint surgery
Visit our online Health Library to learn more about osteoarthritis.
Wilcox Bone & Joint Center