There are over 100 various forms of arthritis, according to Saga. All are capable of causing pain in the joints; however, it’s worth educating yourself on the more particular implications of osteoarthritis, given that it is easily the most common form of arthritis.
How common exactly? Well, the UK has over 8 million people with osteoarthritis, the precise cause of which remains unknown. Still, the condition can be prevented or relieved in various ways.
A basic definition of osteoarthritis
Why can bones typically move so smoothly and painlessly at the joints? It’s due to cartilage, a protective tissue at the ends of your bones. That cartilage has a cushioning effect and, hence, is somewhat akin to the sole on your shoe.
However, like that sole, cartilage can become more worn and flat – and, thus, also less protective. As a result, the cartilage could break down and so gradually give rise to osteoarthritis.
What are discernible signs of osteoarthritis?
Parts of the body especially prone to osteoarthritis include the hands, hips, knees and spine, according to the Health website. Furthermore, the condition will worsen over time.
Exactly how osteoarthritis manifests itself can depend on what joint is affected; however, the signs can include mechanical symptoms like locking, catching and grinding – especially in the knees. Advanced arthritis may also cause joint deformities – leading to, for example, knock knees.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
Given that osteoarthritis will worsen over time, it is clearly in your interest to investigate its causes… or, as they should probably instead be called given the lack of clarity regarding the causes, risk factors. One such factor is having an active, athletic lifestyle, as this can cause more joint injuries.
Ironically in light of this, another factor is… obesity! Excess pounds can put your joints under more pressure and speed up the wearing down of cartilage – especially if the joints support much weight.
Young people are not entirely immune to osteoarthritis
If your knowledge of osteoarthritis isn’t in-depth, you might take the condition to be only a concern for older adults. However, even people still in their 20s can pick up this degenerative condition.
Still, if you know an elderly relative with the condition, you might notice some differences in their symptoms compared to those that emerge in your case. For example, osteoarthritis could affect your knees, ankles and hips, which are load-bearing joints vulnerable to athletic injuries and obesity.
There are various treatment options for osteoarthritis
Here’s a rather sobering revelation if you suffer osteoarthritis: there is no cure for the condition. Now, here’s a more reassuring thought: you can still manage the pain in a range of proven ways.
To start with, you can sample some conservative management techniques. For example, you could shift any excess weight you have or try physical therapy or acupuncture. If your osteoarthritis is advanced, having the joint replaced is an option. Joint replacement surgery can be carried out at Highgate Private Hospital, an orthopaedics hospital in London.