Of all of the types of arthritis that result in stiff, painful joints, osteoarthritis is the most common. It is a painful condition that damages joints throughout the body. It can affect one area in particular, such as the knees, or can be extensive, resulting in damage to the hips, the spine, and the hands. It is a chronic condition that usually has a slow, gradual progress. Once a person becomes a victim of osteoarthritis, the condition cannot be reversed.
Catching osteoarthritis can help slow down its progression. If you suspect that you or someone you know has osteoarthritis, contact The Arthritis & Osteoporosis Clinic of Brazos Valley today.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage that protects the bones. This cartilage is an essential cushion that keeps the bones from rubbing together until osteoarthritis wears it away.
The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, such as an extremely active lifestyle that has excess strain on the joints. The aging process also contributes to the deterioration of cartilage which protects the bones. In some cases, a genetic disorder may develop defective cartilage or bones that are not formed properly, resulting in osteoarthritis. Being overweight can put an additional strain on the joints that in turn causes cartilage to deteriorate.
What are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
Pain is a constant companion for anyone who suffers from osteoarthritis. Stiffness of the joints is common, especially first thing in the morning or after periods of time spent inactive. When this condition sets in, it becomes painful to move any of the affected joints. The joints may become tender to the touch. It is common to lose flexibility in any of the joints that have become affected by the condition. Osteoarthritis often causes bone spurs, or extra pieces of bone, to accumulate around the affected joints. There may be a grating noise or sensation as the bones rub against each other.
What are Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis?
One of the biggest risk factors for osteoarthritis is age: older people are more likely to develop this condition. It is also more likely that women will develop the condition then men. Anyone who participates in a sport or occupation that places a great deal of strain on particular joints over time is prone to developing this disorder. Those who are obese are at a higher level of risk, as well as individuals with deformed bones. For some people, heredity puts them at an increased risk of developing the condition.
In some cases, osteoarthritis is unavoidable. However, there are steps that a person can take to try and stave off this painful condition.
Getting plenty of calcium and maintaining a healthy weight may ward off the disorder. Regular exercise makes your muscles strong, providing a support system for your bones. For those who are extremely active, it’s important to wear supportive footwear and avoid putting excessive strain on any part of the body. Listen to what your body is trying to say and take a break at regular intervals. Eat foods that act as an anti-inflammatory, such as foods containing omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements such as chondroitin and glucosamine may be helpful as well.
Our early arthritis clinic can help diagnose and treat arthritis in its early stages. If you already have this condition, our trained doctors can help develop an individualized treatment plan for you. If you think that you may have osteoporosis or would like to begin a new pain management program, contact our offices today.