Osteoarthritis, sometimes called OA, is a type of arthritis that only affects the joints, usually in the hands, knees, hips, neck, and lower back. It's the most common type of arthritis.
The exact cause of osteoarthritis is not fully understood. It may be hereditary. People who play sports may get it because sports can be
hard on joints. However, in most people, it seems to be related to the long-term 'wear and tear' that everyday living puts on joints. In some people, the cartilage thins as the joints are used. This is the start of osteoarthritis. Over time, the cartilage wears away and the bones may rub against each other. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and decreased motion of the joint.
Bones may even start to grow too thick on the ends where they meet to make a joint. Bits of cartilage may loosen and get in the way of movement. This also can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.
There are no cures for osteoarthritis and it is difficult to know how to avoid it. However, the following may help:
• Avoid overuse of your joints
• Try to avoid jobs or activities that require repetitive movement
• Maintain a healthy body weight
• Do strength-training exercises to keep the muscles around your joints strong.
(This is especially important for weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, and ankles)
If the osteoarthritis is so severe that surgery is required to relieve the symptoms, there are several options. Factors for the type of intervention include age, activity level, and how bad the damage is. Talk to your doctor to learn which surgery will be best for you.
Surgical options include:
• Arthroscopy to remove or repair damaged tissue and provide temporary relief from pain or delay the need for other surgeries.
• Osteotomy surgeries can reposition or reshapes the bones in your joint where osteoarthritis has caused damage. It can shift your weight away from an area that has been damaged or correct misalignment in a joint restoring movement and relieving pain.
• Arthroplasty, or 'joint replacement', allows a surgeon to remove the damaged joint and replace it with an artificial joint made from metals, plastic, and/or ceramic. All or part of the joint may be replaced. Joint replacement therapy can help put an end to your pain and improve or restore movement in your joint.