Osteoarthritis is very common and affects most of us as we get older. It is the most common form of arthritis in people over the age of 65. Men are more likely to be affected than women before they reach 45, but, in the over-55s, the balance shifts so more women are affected.
Osteoarthritis is sometimes called ‘wear-and-tear arthritis’ and ‘degenerative arthritis’, but wear and tear and degeneration are not the whole story. Lots of people who have done heavy work all their lives do not develop osteoarthritis and it is not confined to older people.
Does Osteoarthritis Run in Families?
Osteoarthritis can run in families and, if your parents had it, you have a slightly greater chance of developing it too. It can also develop early in any joint that has previously been seriously injured. Footballers, for instance, often suffer repeated cartilage injuries and may develop osteoarthritis in their knees. Besides the knee, osteoarthritis is common in hip, the knuckle joint of the big toe, the joint at the base of the thumb, the spine, especially the lower back, and the neck.
How Osteoarthritis Develop?
Doctors think that Osteoarthritis may be a disorder affecting the cells responsible for making cartilage. The cartilage loses its slippery surface, cracks develop and it becomes roughened.
Over time, the cartilage becomes thinner and the joint may not move as freely as it did. The bone at the edges of the joint may change shape and bony lumps, or osteophytes, may form. In advanced cases, the cartilage may disappear entirely and the bone forming the joint may become deformed.
Common Symptoms in Osteoarthritis
- The joint is painful after exercise and at the end of the day.
- The joint is stiff first thing in the morning or after a daytime rest.
- The joint creaks or grinds when you move it – this is known as ‘crepitus’.
- Tender lumps may appear on the small joints at the ends of your fingers and the bases of your thumbs.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
- Anti-Inflammatory medicines
- Anti-inflammatory injection
- Platelet Rich Plasma Injection
- Joint Replacement