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What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis. In Osteoarthritis, the cartilage which acts as cushions between the ends of bone deteriorates gradually. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint of the body, but the joints of the hands, knees, hips, and spine are commonly affected by Osteoarthritis. Types of Osteoarthritis are as follows:

Primary Osteoarthritis: It is the most common type of Osteoarthritis, and it develops over time as a result of "wear and tear."The most significant risk factor for Osteoarthritis is age, and the longer a person uses their joints, the more likely they are to develop this type of Osteoarthritis.

Secondary Osteoarthritis: A particular trigger exacerbates cartilage degradation resulting in Secondary Osteoarthritis. Conditions responsible for Secondary Osteoarthritis include trauma, obesity, overuse of joints etc.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

  1. Joint pain
  2. Stiffness in the joint
  3. Loss of flexibility
  4. Tenderness/ Discomfort
  5.  Swelling
  6. Grating sensation 

What are the Causes of Osteoarthritis?

  1. Obesity: Obesity increases the stress on your joints, mainly your knees
  2. Surgery or Injury: After an accident or other injury, damaged cartilage can develop into posttraumatic arthritis, a kind of Osteoarthritis.
  3. Diabetes: Diabetes and a few hormonal diseases may lead to osteoporosis because they can cause inflammation. 
  4. Menopause: After menopause, estrogen levels, which support your bones and cartilage, decrease.
  5. Gout: Uric acid crystals may cause QA joint damage by triggering an inflammatory reaction.
  6. Your job or work: Squatting or lifting with a joint that does the same movement repetitively may cause Osteoarthritis.
  7. Body mechanics: An unusual walking manner or joints with a more extensive range of motion than typical (known as hypermobility) might put them under extra strain.

What are the Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis?

  1. Sex: Osteoporosis condition is more common in women.
  2. Age: Increases the possibility of Osteoarthritis condition as you get older.
  3. Ethnicity: White and Asian individuals are more vulnerable than other nationalities.
  4. Weight and Height: The chance of Osteoarthritis increases if you are over 5 feet 7 inches tall or weigh less than 125 pounds.
  5. Genetic factors: Osteoporosis is more prevalent if a close relative has been diagnosed with a hip fracture or osteoporosis.
  6. Injury to Joints
  7. Repetitive stress on bones
  8. Metabolic disorders
  9. Bone Deformities

How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

  1. Imaging tests: X-rays and MRI are used to get pictures of the affected joint. 
  2. Lab tests:
    1. Blood Test: Generally, there is no blood test to diagnose Osteoarthritis. But blood tests can be performed to rule out the other causes of joint pains. 
    2. Joint fluid analysis: In this analysis, a doctor utilises a needle to collect fluid from an affected joint. The fluid is then examined for swelling.

What are Non Surgical Options for Treating Osteoarthritis?

  1. Medicines: 
    1. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications: A variety of drugs can help with arthritic discomfort. Consult your doctor before beginning any of them, and make sure they're aware if you're taking them regularly. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are common OTC drugs. Acetaminophen can be used to relieve mild to moderate pain. 
    2. Prescription medications: Ibuprofen, naproxen, piroxicam, and sulindac are all prescription NSAIDs. They are typically considered safe by the majority of people. They are associated with adverse effects like gastrointestinal bleeding and heart attack.
    3. Corticosteroid injections: This is usually intended for really severe pain. The advantage lasts typically for several weeks to months. In most cases, these injections are only administered in a single joint three to four-time per year.
    4. Hyaluronic acid (HA) injection: The normal synovial fluid in joints contains hyaluronic acid. In a person with Osteoarthritis, normal levels of HA are decreased. When Hyaluronic acid is injected into a joint, it can assist in smoothing it and improve movability. 
  2. Therapy
    1. Physical therapy: Physical therapy enables you to perform different exercises to strengthen the muscles around a joint, which promotes the flexibility of joints and reduces pain. Regular light exercise, such as swimming, running, riding a bicycle, and walking, can also be used to reduce pain. 
    2. Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy allows you to complete your regular tasks without further burdening your already hurting joints. 
  3. Surgery:
    1. Arthroscopic surgery: Knee and shoulder surgery are the popular outpatient surgeries. In this surgery, the doctor removes the loose cartilage or fixes the cartilage to treat joint problems.
    2. Joint replacement surgery: This is a choice of therapy when other treatments do not work. This therapy replaces the damaged joints with artificial joints. This surgery is more common for knee and hip replacement therapy. 
    3. Osteotomy: This treatment can improve knee or hip joint stability in those who are too young for joint replacement.

What may happen if Osteoarthritis is not Treated in Time?

  1. Irreversible damage to the joints
  2. Continuous increase in pain
  3. Decrease in quality of life

Updated on : 3 June 2022


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Kirti V

Kirti V

B.A. English | M.A. English ( Magadh University, Bihar)

3 Years Experience

With 3 years of full-time experience as an SEO content writer, she has honed her skills to deliver captivating and persuasive writing that leaves a lasting impact. She is always ready to learn new things and expand...View More

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