Osteoarthritis is a disease characterized by joint damage caused by ‘wear and tear’ occurring within joint cartilage over time. This degenerative joint disorder causes joint pain and tenderness, as well as swelling, stiffness and loss of flexibility among some patients. Osteoarthritis is progressive, beginning with minimal symptoms that gradually worsen. Some of the joints most susceptible to the disease include the knees, hips, hands, and lower back, although osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body.
that approximately 27 million people in the U.S. suffer from osteoarthritis? In fact, it is the most prevalent type of arthritis among adults all over the world. Studies have shown that adults over the age of 18 – particularly those middle-aged or older – can help stave off osteoarthritis by engaging in moderate amounts of physical activity on a regular basis. Maintaining a healthy weight is also key, as excess weight places exponential amounts of pressure on the knees, which are two major joints that are especially prone to cartilage degeneration and the development of osteoarthritis.
Probability of developing osteoarthritis increases with age, with females and obese individuals at particularly high risk for being diagnosed with the disease. You may be suffering from this condition if you currently experience chronic pain or stiffness in one or more joints. Only a rheumatologist can provide you with a reliable diagnosis of osteoarthritis, so schedule an appointment to find out more about this disease and whether it could be causing you joint pain.
There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis; though there are treatments available to help manage symptoms, maximize joint function, and slow progression of the disease. Depending on the extent of symptoms and discomfort, patients may benefit from pain medications, physical therapy, cortisone injections, viscosupplementation injections or even surgery for osteoarthritis.
Viscosupplementation is a procedure in which a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid (HA) is injected into the knee joint. Your body naturally produces HA however in patients suffering from osteoarthritis, HA is found in much lower concentrations. In some patients, replacing the hyaluronic acid may improve the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid, reduce the pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, improve mobility, and provide a higher and more comfortable level of activity. Viscosupplementation is usually reserved until other treatment options have been tried and have not relieved your pain. Three to five injections, each 1 week apart, are required.
Yes. Most patients suffering from osteoarthritis can benefit from following a healthy lifestyle, complete with a balanced diet and moderate amounts of low-impact exercise. You may also wish to speak to your doctor about being fitted for an orthopedic device when applicable.