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Osteoarthritis : Symptoms and Treatment

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition in the joints, which is also commonly called joint degenerative disease, "wear and tear" arthritis. This condition results from damage to the cartilage or pads between joints, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. This disease can occur in any joint in the body, but the most commonly affected are knee joints, hips, lower back and neck. Not only that, the small joints on the fingers and the big toe are also often affected.

In normal joints, the cartilage covers the tip of each bone; which functions as a cushion between the bones. But in sufferers, cartilage is damaged, causing pain and swelling. This condition can worsen over time until finally the cartilage is completely damaged.

Damage to the cartilage can then trigger additional bone growth in the normal bone, which is known as bone-osteophytic spurs. Damaged cartilage can be released and "floated" around the joint, making the body recognize it as a foreign object that triggers the inflammatory process and the release of cytokines (proteins). This is what then damages the cartilage. In the final stages of Osteoarthritis, the cartilage can be completely lost so there is a friction between the bones which causes joint damage and more pain.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis generally develop slowly and get worse over time. The severity of the symptoms and the location of the attack can vary in each patient.

Pain and stiffness in the joints are the main symptoms of osteoarthritis. These symptoms can even make it difficult for sufferers to undergo daily activities.

Pain or pain in the joint will usually appear when the joint is moved, and a stiff sensation will be felt after the joint is not moved for some time, for example when you wake up in the morning.

Generally, symptoms and signs of Osteoarthritis do not appear immediately and will worsen over time. Here are some symptoms and signs that usually occur in sufferers:

  • Pain: joints are painful especially when moving
  • Stiffness: this may be felt most when you wake up in the morning
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation
  • Bone spurs: this extra bone generally feels like a hard lump, can form around the affected joint.

If the person has osteoarthritis in the hand, symptoms such as the appearance of lumps and swelling around the fingers can occur. In certain cases, the fingers will look crooked and a cyst lump appears behind it.

These symptoms can arise or occur continuously. This recurrence may be influenced by the type of activity undertaken and the weather.

Check with your doctor if you experience symptoms of osteoarthritis that do not go away for several weeks or the pain that is felt is getting worse. This examination allows the doctor to find out the cause if it has not been diagnosed or the severity if it has been diagnosed.

Causes of Osteoarthritis

This disease occurs when the cartilage, which functions to protect the ends of the bones in the joints and allows joint movements to gradually worsen. When you experience it, the surface of the cartilage that was originally slippery texture will become rough. Finally, if the cartilage is really torn, there might be inter-bone friction.

Risk factor of Osteoarthritis

  • Age: the risk of this disease will increase with age
  • Obesity
  • Injury to the joint
  • Genetics
  • Work
  • Deformity in bones

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

Doctors can diagnose you with osteoarthritis based on interviews with the history of the patient's illness, physical examination, and investigation. Not only that, the doctor will also examine the affected joints and may also recommend several investigations, such as:


Cartilage will not be seen on X-ray images, but narrowing of space between joint bones can indicate an indication of osteoarthritis. X-rays can also show bone bulges around the joint. If needed, doctors can also perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, which use radio waves and strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images of bone tissue, including cartilage. MRI is usually not needed to diagnose Osteoarthritis, but can help provide more information in more complex cases.

Laboratory test

  • blood test. Although there is no blood test for this disease, doctors will do certain tests to help get rid of other causes of joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Analysis of joint fluid. The doctor may use a special needle to remove fluid from the affected joint. Checking and testing fluid from the joint can determine whether there is inflammation and to ascertain if the pain is caused by gout or infection.

Complications of Osteoarthritis

You should know that this disease is a degenerative disease that can worsen at any time. If left alone, over time the sufferer will no longer be able to carry out daily activities.

Treatment of Osteoarthritis

At present, treatment is generally done to reduce the symptoms that are felt. This can be done effectively with lifestyle changes, physical therapy, treatment, and surgery. Exercising and achieving the ideal body weight are generally the most important ways to deal with this disease. In addition, the doctor may also suggest:

  • Treatment is usually the symptoms felt by the sufferer are pain. This symptom can be overcome by giving anti-pain medication and also anti-inflammation by the doctor with a customized dose.
  • Physical therapy can also be said by physiotherapy. In doing this therapy, a physical therapist - under the supervision of a doctor - will work with sufferers to create individual training programs to strengthen the muscles around your joints, thereby increasing your range of motion and reducing pain.
  • Occupational therapy. This therapy can help sufferers find ways to do tasks and daily activities without putting extra pressure on the affected joint. For example, a toothbrush with a large handle can make brushing your teeth easier for people with finger osteoarthritis. A bench in the bathroom can help relieve pain when standing in knee osteoarthritis sufferers.
  • Tai chi and yoga. Therapy from the movements of these two minor exercises involves light exercises and stretches that are combined with deep breathing. Many people use both therapies to reduce stress in their lives. Recent research shows that tai chi and yoga can reduce pain and improve movement.
  • Surgery and other procedures. If the therapy already mentioned is not effective for the sufferer, the doctor will recommend other procedures such as:
  • Cortisone injection
  • Lubricant injection
  • Osteotomy
  • Arthroplasty

Prevention of Osteoarthritis

Although osteoarthritis cannot be prevented, sufferers can minimize the potential to experience more severe conditions or complications that can cause paralysis by doing a number of things, such as:

  • Exercise regularly to strengthen muscles and joints.
  • Maintain body posture when sitting or standing. Make sure you stretch your muscles as often as possible.
  • Maintain weight so as not to be obese.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.