The joints in our body are lined with cartilage, which facilitates movement and prevents the bones from rubbing against one another. However, certain factors such as age or osteoporosis can result in joint cartilage degradation and decomposition, which is referred to as osteoarthritis or “degenerative joint disease (DJD).”
Osteoarthritis is one of the most prevalent types of arthritis, affecting the hips, knees, hands, lower back, and neck. It is most common in adults over the age of 50. This condition results in rigid tendons and ligaments, cartilage loss, swelling or pain in the joint, and bone spurs.
In this article, Novomed provides you with osteoarthritis causes, symptoms, and the most effective treatment options!
Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis have no apparent cause; however, studies indicate that aging plays a vital role in causing poor bone health and loss of cartilage, forcing joints to rub against each other and lose their flexibility.
Nonetheless, you may be at a high risk of developing osteoarthritis if some of the below-mentioned risk factors apply to you:
- Ageing: Although osteoporosis can occur at any age or stage of life, it’s more common in individuals above fifty years old and affects women more than men.
- Obesity: Excess weight or obesity are significant factors that increase the pressure on the joints, causing pain and swelling, especially in the knee joints and thigh muscles.
- Sports-related injuries or surgeries: Previous injuries to the joint, such as dislocating or breaking the knees, hips, and hands, may harm the joint’s function.
- Taking part in high-intensity sports: such as sprinting, jumping, climbing, or lifting heavyweights.
- Genetic factors: some individuals may be at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis because of family history.
Osteoarthritis symptoms can be triggered after doing repetitive physical activity such as walking, climbing stairs, or opening a firmly sealed container.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are as follows:
- Joint pain or discomfort
- Joint stiffness and soreness after prolonged inactivity, such as sitting or awakening from sleep
- Hearing a cracking or popping sound when moving a joint
- Developing swelling around the joint
Most treatments for osteoporosis aim to ease painful symptoms, reduce stiffness, and improve joint function through various techniques that we’ll go through in detail below.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be used to treat mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.
Your physiotherapist will help you perform exercises that enhance the joint’s range of motion and decrease pain to strengthen the muscles around the afflicted joints. Additionally, you’ll be provided with guiding tips to reduce inflammation, such as practicing the proper sitting posture, using a toilet seat to alleviate knee pain, or using a toothbrush with a large handle to facilitate tooth cleaning for patients with hand osteoarthritis.
Your doctor may recommend wearing braces, shoe inserts, or other medical devices that stabilize or support damaged joints to alleviate pain and pressure.
Osteotomy involves removing a small portion of bone above or below the knee joint to straighten the leg and distribute the patient’s weight evenly across the body without placing pressure on the injured joint.
Joint replacement surgery involves removing the damaged joint surface and replacing it with a plastic and metal prosthesis that is typically suitable for the hip and knee joints.
The following are some of our expert tips and recommendations at Novomed to ease osteoarthritis pain and steer away from surgery as much as possible:
- Maintain a healthy weight by incorporating healthy eating habits and regular physical activity.
- Keep an eye on your blood sugar level, as high glucose levels can cause joint injury and cartilage weakening.
- Sustain regular mobility by straightening and bending the legs from a standing or sitting posture and walking daily to increase joint range of motion.
- Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes moderate sleep, eating a balanced diet, and abstinence from smoking and other toxins in your environment.