Osteoarthritis symptoms, prevention, and treatment

A rubbery substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone in healthy joints. As a cushion between the bones, cartilage provides a smooth, slippery surface for joint movements. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage to break down. As a result, the joint becomes painful, swollen, and difficult to move. As osteoarthritis worsens, bone spurs may form as the bones break down. It is possible for pieces of bone or cartilage to fall off and float around the joint. Inflammation occurs in the body, and proteins called cytokines and enzymes are produced that further damage cartilage. As osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage is destroyed and the bones are pulled together, causing more pain and damage.

Osteoarthritis affects whom?

Osteoarthritis can occur at any age, but is more common in those over 65. The most common risk factors include age, obesity, joint damage, overuse of joints, weak thigh muscles, and genetic predisposition.

Osteoarthritis symptoms: what are they?

Osteoarthritis symptoms vary according to the joints affected and the severity of the condition. Osteoarthritis symptoms include joint pain and dryness, particularly after a rest or in the morning. Inflammation may result from damaged joints, especially when they have been inactive for a long period of time. Over time, these symptoms accumulate. Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Whenever I exercise or overuse my joints, especially my thighs, knees, and lower back, I experience pain and dryness in the common area.
  • Joint range of motion is limited
  • Joints making noise when bent
  • Joint swelling
  • After activity or at the end of the day, pain gets worse

Different parts of the body are affected by osteoarthritis

Pain in the groin or buttocks, and sometimes inside the knee or thigh.

When moving the knees, the knees feel worn or scratched.

Symptoms of bone spurs in the fingers include swelling, redness, thinness, and fragility. The base of your thumb may also be painful.

In the big toe joint of the base of the big toe, there is pain and fragility. Swelling can also occur in the ankle or toe.

A fracture of the joints’ cartilage and discs in the neck and lower back is osteoarthritis of the spine. Sometimes osteoarthritis causes bone spurs that press on nerves that protrude from the spine. There can be weakness and pain in the arms or legs as a result of this condition.

Inflammation of the spine caused by osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis makes it difficult to do daily chores at home or at work due to pain or swelling. It is even impossible to pack the beds, open the dish lid, grab a computer mouse, or drive. Activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and lifting objects become difficult when the lower joints of the body are affected. It becomes difficult to grasp and hold objects such as pencils and needles when the fingers’ joints become involved.

People believe osteoarthritis is inevitable, so they do nothing to manage it. When steps are not taken to prevent joint damage, manage pain, and increase joint flexibility, osteoarthritis can disrupt family, social, and work-life relationships.

What is the impact of osteoarthritis on public health?

Osteoarthritis-related factors include pain, decreased mobility, side effects of medications, and other adverse health effects that are not directly related to joint disease.

Diabetes and heart disease: Knee or thigh pain can lead to obesity and weight gain. High blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease can be caused by being overweight or obese.

A person with osteoarthritis has a 30% higher fall rate and a 20% higher risk of bone fractures than a person without osteoarthritis. People with osteoarthritis have diminished muscle strength and function, as well as difficulty balancing. Medications prescribed to relieve pain may also cause a person to fall. Dizziness and imbalance may be caused by hypnotic painkillers.

Osteoarthritis causes

Researchers now call osteoarthritis “joint disease” rather than “joint wear and tear.” Some of the significant factors that cause osteoarthritis are:

Genes: Some genetic traits increase a person’s risk of osteoarthritis. A rare defect in collagen production is one of these defects. Cartilage is made up of collagen, a protein. Even in your 20s, this disorder can cause osteoarthritis. It is also possible for some genetic traits to lead to minor defects in how bones adapt. Cartilage is destroyed faster when the bones are aligned. In people with knee osteoarthritis, a gene called FAAH is more common than in healthy individuals.

Weight: Excess weight puts extra strain on the knees and thighs. Tolerating excess weight leads to cartilage disappearing faster in the long run. Overweight is associated with a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the hand. A fatty tissue that is too large produces inflammatory chemicals that damage joints.

Osteoarthritis is caused by repetitive movements or damage to joints, such as fractures or surgery or ruptured ligaments. Joints, tendons, and ligaments are often injured by athletes. As a result, cartilage can be destroyed. Work that requires prolonged standing, frequent bending, lifting heavy objects, or other movements may accelerate cartilage destruction. A change in movement and, eventually, a fracture of the joint’s cartilage may result from a lack of balance or weakness of the muscles that support the joint.

Osteoarthritis may also be caused by other factors. Rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic disorders are among these factors.

Osteoarthritis diagnosis

To diagnose atherosclerosis, the physician collects information about the patient’s family and personal medical history and prescribes examinations and diagnostic tests.

Information needed to diagnose osteoarthritis includes:

  • Symptoms described
  • When and how the pain or other symptoms began
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Pain, dryness, or other symptoms at a specific location
  • Symptoms and their impact on daily life
  • Medication list

The doctor examines the patient’s joints and tests their range of motion. It is important for your doctor to look for painful, swollen, or delicate areas as well as signs of joint damage. The neck and spine are also examined.

After reviewing a person’s medical history and physical examination, the doctor may suspect osteoarthritis. This diagnosis is usually not helped by blood tests. This condition may be confirmed by the following tests:

1- A joint fluid test is performed by anesthetizing the affected area and inserting a needle to draw fluid into the joint. The fluid is examined for evidence of joint destruction and crystalline particles. Your doctor can rule out other types of arthritis with this test. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis.

2- An X-ray may show damage and other changes associated with osteoarthritis.

3- Radiation is not used in MRI imaging. The method is more expensive than X-rays, but it provides better images of cartilage and other bone structures and aids in early diagnosis of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis treatment

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. There are several components to long-term management of the disease:

  • Pain, dryness, and swelling can be managed
  • Flexibility and mobility of joints are improved
  • Keeping a healthy weight is important
  • Engaging in physical activity

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage osteoarthritis. Although it can be challenging to exercise when a joint is injured, it is essential. Walking around the neighborhood or taking an easy and fun exercise class can reduce pain and maintain a healthy weight. Exercises that strengthen the muscles around the joints reduce pain and make it easier to bear the load. Exercising aerobically improves endurance, energy levels, and weight loss. Those with osteoarthritis should consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Everyone, including those with arthritis, should exercise 150 minutes a week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Excess weight puts extra strain on joints, such as hip joints, knees, legs, and waist. Osteoarthritis sufferers can reduce pain and prevent further joint damage by losing weight. Weight loss, calorie reduction, and physical activity are the constitutions.

Exercises that stretch the joints can improve flexibility and reduce dryness and pain. Joint stiffness and dryness can be managed with exercises such as yoga and tai chi.

Osteoarthritis medications are available in tablets, syrups, creams, lotions, or they can be injected into the joint. Among these medications are:

  1. Contains acetaminophen and narcotic analgesics to relieve pain. There are some drugs that can be purchased without a prescription, and there are others that require a prescription.
  2. Aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and celecoxib are the most commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  3. As powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids can be taken orally or injected into joints.
  4.  In joint fluid, hyaluronic acid acts as a shock absorber and lubricant. People with osteoarthritis seem to break down this acid.

Pain management can be achieved through occupational therapy and physiotherapy. There are a number of options available, including:

  • Methods for teaching proper joint use
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Flexibility exercises and movement exercises
  • Auxiliary devices introduction and presentation

The use of auxiliary devices can improve performance and mobility. Among the auxiliary devices are scooters, canes, walkers, splints, special shoes, and accessories such as openers and high-heeled heels.

Exercises can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the fingers.

Osteoarthritis patients often use natural and alternative therapies to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Among these are nutritional supplements, acupuncture, massage, relaxation techniques, and hydrotherapy.

Joint surgery can repair or replace severely damaged joints, such as hips or knees.

Having a positive attitude strengthens the immune system and increases the ability to control and manage symptoms, according to many studies.

Strengthening the muscles that support the thighs is one of the primary goals of a thigh exercise program. A deep thigh stabilizing muscle can absorb shock and protect the joint from painful and harmful movements. Therefore, pelvic floor exercises can help patients reduce strength and flexibility, improve pain, and reduce pain. Finnish women with osteoarthritis confirmed this effect in a study. 13 women with osteoarthritis experienced a 30 percent reduction in pain after participating in a 12-week exercise program. Researchers found that 12-week exercise programs significantly reduced pain and improved mobility in 210 patients with osteoarthritis of the thighs.

Physical activity is a key component of osteoarthritis management; however, if you are not currently active, you should start exercising regularly. Ground and water sports can strengthen thigh muscles and relieve osteoarthritis pain. For pain control, physiotherapists can also prescribe flexibility and thigh-strengthening exercises.

In some cases, osteoarthritis of the thigh can only be treated by joint replacement.

Is exercise helpful in the later stages of osteoarthritis?

If You cannot claim that exercise can prevent you from going to the operating room if you have advanced osteoarthritis of the thigh. Exercise should not be stopped until surgery. Even people with advanced osteoarthritis should remain active as much as possible. You won’t get good results if you operate in poor condition. It is best to have surgery as soon as possible in a healthier position even if exercise does not improve your thigh pain.

Osteoarthritis prevention

As a result of a long and active life, osteoarthritis was once considered a disease of burnout. According to research, osteoarthritis is a complex disease with many causes. Age alone does not cause this disease; rather, it results from a combination of factors, many of which can be avoided. The following tips from doctors can help you reduce your risk of osteoarthritis or delay its onset.

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most critical risk factors for osteoarthritis, and there is a clear reason for this. Weightlifting puts more stress on weight-bearing joints. The extra load over time causes the cartilage that supports the joint to disappear; However, mechanical stresses are not the only cause. Inflammation and inflammation throughout the body are stimulated by cytokines produced by adipose tissue. By altering cartilage cell function, cytokines destroy joint tissue. Overweight causes your body to produce and release more destructive proteins. There will be fatigue and constant tiredness as a result of weight loss, and osteoarthritis risk will be reduced as well.

Diabetes, a disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, has been shown to be a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis. By increasing glucose levels, individual molecules are formed faster, causing cartilage to become drier and more sensitive to mechanical stress. Inflammation caused by diabetes can also cause cartilage to break down. Diabetes and joint damage are linked, which may explain why many people with diabetes also develop arthritis.

Physical activity is the best treatment for osteoarthritis. Keeping your joints healthy is also one of the most effective ways to do so. An average of 30 minutes of exercise five times a week maintains joint flexibility and muscle strength, strengthening and stabilizing the thighs and arms. Strengthening the heart and lungs, reducing diabetes risk, and controlling weight are all benefits of exercise. These benefits are available to you without joining a club. The benefits of walking and gardening (even clearing the ground) are positive; however, the greatest benefit comes from a consistent, age-appropriate exercise program. Listen to your body no matter what sport you choose. Rest at intervals after exercising if you experience pain that lasts for several hours after exercising. Move slowly until you understand how your body responds to the new activity to avoid injury.

The risk of developing arthritis in an injured joint is seven times higher than in a joint that has never been damaged because cartilage does not heal quickly. Fractures and dislocations, as well as ruptures and stretches of tendons, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis. It is important to take care when dealing with this type of injury, even though it cannot always be avoided. Wear safety clothing when exercising during high-risk activities. Lift objects and rest at intervals using your most vital and largest joints at work and at home. The prevention of further joint damage can be achieved by maintaining a healthy weight after each injury.

Lifestyle choices: Some risk factors for osteoarthritis cannot be changed. The incidence of osteoarthritis increases with age, but the reason is unclear. The number of cartilage cells decreases over time, according to one theory. Since osteoarthritis is more common in women than in men, especially after 50, decreased estrogen levels after menopause may play a role. In addition, some people inherit genes that predispose them to osteoarthritis. Arthritis, however, is a multifactorial disease, and just because someone receives a gene does not mean they will develop the disease. A healthy lifestyle is the best defense against any disease, including osteoarthritis. General health and joint health are affected by how you eat, sleep, manage stress, interact with others, and whether or not you drink alcohol and smoke.

Osteoarthritis can also cause other complications

Inflammation and osteoarthritis: These proteins cause inflammation throughout the body, including joints. Osteoarthritis does not develop in joints that bear weight directly; instead, it develops in joints that do not bear weight, such as the hands’ joints. Obese people are twice as likely to suffer from osteoarthritis of the hand. In people with osteoarthritis in one joint, obesity increases their risk of developing osteoarthritis in other joints as well. Obese people with another knee osteoarthritis are five times more likely to develop healthy knee osteoarthritis than healthy-weight people. By placing a mechanical load on cartilage and bone, excess fatty tissue not only causes inflammation throughout the body; it also encourages these structures to release inflammatory proteins and other factors that result in joint damage.

Osteoarthritis and metabolic syndrome: Obesity-related injuries are not limited to the joints in osteoarthritis. Researchers examined the association between obesity and osteoarthritis and metabolic syndrome in a 2015 study. It is three times more likely that people with osteoarthritis will develop metabolic syndrome (a group of health problems such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess fat around the waist). According to some researchers, obesity and metabolic syndrome constitute a metabolic illness, a distinct and dangerous subset of osteoarthritis. The combination of these symptoms indicates that heart disease is possible. Atherosclerosis is exacerbated when osteoarthritis is associated with metabolic syndrome. Moreover, each component of the metabolic syndrome increases the risk of pain and worsening of osteoarthritis, as well as the need for joint replacement surgery.

Overweight or obesity exacerbates osteoarthritis’ debilitating effects. Researchers found that people with osteoarthritis and obesity who needed more medication walked more slowly, were less physically active, and were at greater risk of developing disabilities.


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