Osteoarthritis is also referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease and OA. It is a joint disease that is often seen as the degradation of Joints. It also falls under the general category of – Arthritis

Cartilage and subchondral bone are often involved. Often cartilage protects the bone and when it is gone, subchondral bone is exposed and damaged. Loss of muscle mass [atrophy] may result because lack of use.

Inflammation may be seen but it is not a principal feature of this disease.

But this disease must not be confused with Rheumatoid Arthritis which is an autoimmune disease

Joints Affected:

1.) Hands
2.) Feet
3.) Spine
4.) Hips
5.) Knees
6.) Fingers
7.) Toes
8.) Others

Symptoms

–  Joint pain
–  Stiffness
–  Worsening pain when cold
–  Tenderness
–  Creaking [crepitus]
–  Locking of joints
–  Pain with movement
–  Difficulty walking

Heberden’s nodes and Bouchard’s nodes – which are nodes in the joints of the fingers can be seen

Timeline

–  Often seen in “older” men and women
–  OA takes time to develop
–  Affects 27 million Americans
–  Affects 8 million in United Kingdom
–  On average 80% of people will have finding by age 65
–  Only 60% will have symptoms

Types

1.) Primary

–  Chronic degenerative disorder
–  Age may be related
–  Some older individuals may have no arthritis

2.) Secondary

–  Causes are secondary to the disease
–  Resulting is the same for Primary
–  Resulting from injury to obesity and others

Causes or Relations

–  Mechanical stress on joints
–  Congenital causes
–  Pathogenic causes
–  Overweight
–  Loss of muscle strength supporting joints
–  Injury
–  Trauma
–  Related to Aging
–  Inflammation diseases
–  Genetic relation

Diagnosis

–  Labs are nor specific and are not accepted for diagnostic purposes
–  Clinical examination is essential
–  Confirmation is done through X-rays
–  In some cases, CT or MRI may be helpful to determine severity and treatment options.

Treatment

1.) Lifestyle Changes or Modifications

–  Weight control
–  Appropriate sleep and rest
–  Exercise
–  Walking and Swimming are recommended
–  Devices to help with mechanical movement
–  Knee braces and other braces
–  Heat and cold packs as needed

2.) Exercise, Stretching and professional visits

–  Physical therapists
–  Occupational therapists
–  Chiropractors
–  *** each may be beneficial in teaching stretching and exercise techniques

Improvement can be seen in:

–  Gait
–  Functionality
–  Strength
–  Decreased pain
–  and others

3.) Medication

.  Tylenol [Paracetamol]
.  Ibuprofen
.  Other NSAIDs
.  Celebrex [celecoxib]
.  Oral Steroids
.  Opioid medications in severe cases
.  Topical treatment as well – Creams and lotions

4.) Surgery

–  Joint replacement may be helpful

5.) Alternative

–  Acupuncture
–  Glucosamine/Chondroitin
–  Ginger
–  Bromelain
–  Vitamin B9 and B12
–  Others

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