Over 25 million Americans are afflicted by osteoarthritis, which is also labeled degenerative joint disease. It can also be called degenerative arthritis. Arthritis is a general term for inflammation of joints. Osteoarthritis is a specific disease that affects the cartilage around a person’s bones. Cartilage is a type of firm tissue that protects the ends of the bones that form the joints. It allows the bones to glide over each other smoothly. The main purpose of cartilage is to absorb the shock of movement. When osteoarthritis develops, it erodes the layers of cartilage that support the joints. Some areas of your body are more prone than others.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it occurs most frequently in elderly patients, although younger patients who experience injuries to their joints can see it as well. One out of every 12 people over 60 has osteoarthritis, while one in four adults is likely to develop it by the age of 85. Most of these patients are post-menopausal women over the age of 55. The bones in the body most susceptible to this disease are those that carry weight, such as the joints in the hips, knees, and spine.
Symptoms of OA
When the top layer of cartilage breaks down, the cartilage becomes less resistant to the bones underneath. The bones that form the joint start rubbing against each other, leading to pain, swelling, and loss of motion. If this remains unattended, the joint can lose its shape. Bone spurs are also prone to forming on the ends of the joint. Even more pain and damage occurs when bone and/ or cartilage fragments break away and float within the space that remains after the cartilage has completely eroded.
Other symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
- Soreness and stiffness in joints
- Stiffness that disappears after movement
- Clicking or cracking sounds upon the bending of joints
- Swelling around joints
- Pain that worsens after activity or in the evening
Osteoarthritis can cause different symptoms depending on where it strikes. When it affects the hips, a common symptom is pain in the groin or buttocks. If it impacts the knees, one can feel a scraping sensation when moving one’s knee. In fingers, bone spurs from osteoarthritis cause swelling and tenderness. In a person’s feet, as with fingers, pain and tenderness arise in the large joint at the base of the big toe.
Likely causes of OA
The cause of degenerative diseases is usually unknown; however, doctors usually have an idea of what contributes to the onset of such diseases. In the case of osteoarthritis, the following factors likely influence whether or not a person is likely to develop the disease:
- Being overweight
- Injuring your jointsImproperly formed joints
- Genetic defects in cartilage
- Too much stress on the joints from certain jobs or from playing certain sports
There is no known cure for osteoarthritis, but there is hope. At Garden State Pain Control patients with OA consult with the top pain management physicians in New Jersey to form an action plan against their pain. It is possible to lessen the impact osteoarthritis has on your life. Call 973-777-0304 or click here to book an appointment with one of our pain management experts in New Jersey today.