Osteoarthritis is a long-term disease that causes the cartilage in your joints to break down, resulting in pain and stiffness. It is usually a result of wear and tear on the joints, but it can also be caused by injury or infection. The symptoms of osteoarthritis vary widely and depend on which joint is affected. For example, if your hip is affected, you may experience pain when walking up or down stairs. If your knee is affected, you may notice pain when you bend or straighten your leg. The progression of osteoarthritis varies from person to person.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects people of all ages, although it’s more common in older people.
Symptoms of OA include:
· Tenderness and stiffness
· Grating or crackling sound when moving the affected joints
· Limited range of movement in joints
· Weakness and muscle wasting
· ‘Knobbly’ joints
It’s more likely to be diagnosed if you are over 45, the pain gets worse the more you move your joints and if the stiffness lasts for more than half an hour. Your doctor will examine your joints, looking for swelling and tenderness. They may also test how well your joint moves by asking you to move it through its full range of motion. The doctor will look at how far they can move each joint and whether they feel any discomfort or pain while doing so.
Management of osteoarthritis
There is no cure for OA but there are treatments available to help manage symptoms and prevent further joint damage. These include painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy. Living healthily e.g. good diet and light exercise are also recommended as they can help reduce pain and stiffness in your joints by keeping them flexible and strong.
If you need more guidance on osteoarthritis, give our London clinic a call and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment for you with one of our specialists.