Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down over time.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, hips, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis typically affects just one joint, though in some cases, such as with finger arthritis, several joints can be affected.
Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. But osteoarthritis treatments can relieve pain and help you remain active. Taking steps to actively manage your osteoarthritis may help you gain control over your osteoarthritis pain.
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true.
Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.
Osteoarthritis is often thought of as a critical and disabling condition, but this is not usually the case. The symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.
There can also be variation between the amount of damage to the joints and the severity of the symptoms. For example, a joint may be severely damaged without causing symptoms, or symptoms may be severe without affecting the movement of a joint.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased by using a number of different treatments. Mild symptoms can often be managed through exercise or by wearing suitable footwear. However, in more advanced cases of osteoarthritis other treatments may be necessary. Treatments include analgesics (painkillers), physiotherapy or surgery.
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
* stiffness (which is worst when you wake up in the morning but improves within about 30 minutes when you start to move), and
* difficulty moving your affected joints.
Other symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
* joint tenderness,
* increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while,
* joints appearing slightly larger, or more 'knobbly' than usual,
* a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints,
* limited range of movement in your joints,
* weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk), and
* warm joints.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, it is likely that both of your knees will be affected, unless it has occurred as the result of an injury or another condition.
Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking uphill or going up stairs. Sometimes your knees may 'give way' beneath you or lock into position so that you cannot straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hips
Osteoarthritis in your hips often causes difficulty moving your hip joints. You may find it difficult to put your shoes and socks on or to get in and out of a car.
If you have osteoarthritis in your hips, you may have pain in your hips. However, it is quite common to have pain in your knee and not in your hip. Rarely, you may have pain in other areas such as the thighs, buttocks, knees and ankles. In most cases, pain will be at its worst when you walk, although it can also affect you when you are resting.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hands
There are three main areas of your hand that are often affected by osteoarthritis - the base of your thumb, the joints closest to your fingertips, and the middle joints of your fingers.
Your fingers may become stiff, painful and swollen and you may develop bumps on your finger joints. However, over time the pain in your fingers may decrease and eventually disappear altogether, although the bumps and swelling may remain.
You may find that your fingers bend sideways slightly at your affected joints, or that you develop painful cysts (fluid-filled lumps) on the backs of your fingers.
In some cases you may also develop a bump at the base of your thumb where it joins your wrist. This can be painful and you may find it difficult to perform some manual tasks, such as writing, opening jars or turning keys.
conservative measures such as weight control,appropiate rest and exercise, and the use of mechanical support devices are usually beneficial.regular exercise if possible, in the form of walking,swimming,or other low impact activities are encouraged.applying local heat before, and cold packs after exercise can help relieve pain and inflammation.
supplements which may be useful for treating OA include: glucosamine,chondroitin,omega-3 fatty acid,folic acid,cobalamine.
-paracetamol treat the pain from OA
-nsaid(non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) may reduce both the pain and inflammation.most prominent drugs in thhe class include diclofenac,ibuprofen,naproxen,ketoprofen.
-COX-2 selective inhibitors such as selecoxib,rofecoxib,valdecoxib.
-narcotics for moderate to severe pain, narcotic pain relievers such as tramadol,and eventually opioids may be necessary
if the mangement above in inefective,joint replacement surgery may be required