What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body, the condition mostly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine.
The symptoms associated with osteoarthritis can be effectively managed, but the underlying process cannot be reversed. Staying active, maintaining a health weight and other treatments may slow the progression of the condition as well as improve pain and joint function.
Who is impacted?
Factors that may increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- Elderly age
- Sex (females are at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis)
- Joint injuries
- Certain occupations (repetitive stress on a particular joint)
- Bone deformities
How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed by imaging (X-rays, MRI), lab tests (blood tests, joint fluid analysis) and a physical exam. The affected joint is examined for tenderness, swelling or redness, and for range of motion in the joint.
How is osteoarthritis treated?
Osteoarthritis symptoms such as pain is usually treated with Acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDs, and Duloxetine (Cymbalta). Other forms of treatment involve physical therapy. Injections and realigning the bones may also be helpful.