What is Osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a chronic
condition that affects the joints and is characterized by the deterioration of the bone that
surrounds them, leading to pain and stiffness.

The most prevalent kind of joint illness, osteoarthritis, has an impact on many persons over the
age of 70. Both sexes are affected equally, however the sickness strikes men a little earlier. Some
specialists believe that osteoarthritis developed as an evolutionary cartilage repair mechanism
because it is prevalent in the animal kingdom.

If you have osteoarthritis, you may experience these symptoms:
• joint pain during or after movement
• discomfort in the joint before or during the change of weather
• swelling and stiffness of the joints, especially after movement
• bony bumps in the middle or end of the knuckles or the base of the thumb
• loss of joint flexibility
Risk factors
Osteoarthritis can often be separated into primary and secondary types. Osteoarthritis is caused
by several risk factors, including a mix of lifestyle choices and activities, hereditary traits,
hormonal factors, trauma, and the activity of specific enzymes and chemical substances.
Except in extremely rare circumstances where there is a family form, the primary form is the one
that we cannot link to an external risk factor. Conversely, secondary forms are brought on by
known joint-related factors like diabetes, neuropathic disorders, obesity, repeated excessive
loading of the joint, previous trauma, conditions that follow joint inflammation (like uric arthritis
or infection), and problems with blood flow (like avascular necrosis or Paget's disease).

Overweight or obesity puts more mechanical strain on the articular cartilages. For example,
sitting on low surfaces that stress the hip joint, sitting with knees bent at least 90 degrees, as well
as sitting with legs tucked under the chair, for the knee joint, and long-term static positions of the
head and trunk that are bent or slightly bent for the joints of the spine are examples of repeated
excessive loads on the joint.

How does osteoarthritis occur?
When cartilage grows thinner, the adjacent bone is exposed to friction, which starts a reactive-
proliferative process and non-specific inflammation.
The joint cartilage is where the degenerative process of the joint starts. Specifically, the surface
of the cartilage experiences tearing of fibers and loses its smoothness due to aging of the
organism and/or due to the existence of risk factors. The joint fluid's lubrication is insufficient to
eliminate the cartilage's unevenness, and each movement or (over)loading further wears down
the surface layer. When cartilage grows thinner, the adjacent bone is exposed to friction, which
starts a process with generalized inflammation (known as subchondral sclerosis). On the borders
of the joint, bony protrusions called osteophytes develop, and cystic alterations can also take
place inside the bone.
The viscosity of the joint fluid, or the lubrication of the cartilage, reduces as a result of the
inflammatory component. Additionally, the surrounding soft tissues shift as a result of the joint
space being smaller. The range of motion of the joint is disrupted when the joint capsule (joint
envelope) gets loosened on one side and thickened on the other. Similar alterations take place in
the surrounding ligaments, which results in the loss of their static role in keeping joint bodies in a
neutral position. The cartilage is additionally harmed since the ligaments and joint capsule cease
to serve as guides for joint motion. Additionally, the surrounding muscular tissue is ill, with
some muscle groups becoming weaker and others becoming shorter. Joint movement friction is
exacerbated by muscle function loss. The indicated degenerative process is slow-moving and
takes years before any symptoms manifest.


Treatment is complex and multimodal. It is best when non-invasive/non-aggressive principles
are combined with self-help/education, non-pharmacological physical therapy treatments,
pharmacological and surgical methods of treatment. The most crucial first step is unquestionably
changing your way of life, which is followed by self-control and pain management.
Osteoarthritis makes up nearly half of all varieties of arthritis and is defined by the degeneration
of joint cartilage. It is also referred to as degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or just

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