published on: 04th november, 2021

The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, affects millions of individuals around the world. When the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones breaks down over time, it causes this condition.

Although osteoarthritis can affect any joint, it is most typically seen in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis may usually be treated, but the joint deterioration cannot be reversed. Staying active, eating a healthy diet, and taking some medications can help delay the progression of the disease and improve pain and joint function.

What are the symptoms?

Osteoarthritis symptoms typically appear gradually and worsen over time. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis:

Pain: Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.

Stiffness: Joint stiffness may be more obvious when you first wake up or after a period of inactivity.

Tenderness: When you apply light pressure to or near your joint, it may become tender.

Grating sensation: When you use the joint, you may notice a grating sensation and hear popping or cracking.

Loss of flexibility: It's possible that you won't be able to move your joint completely across its range of motion.

Swelling: This could be due to inflammation of the soft tissues around the joint.

Bone spurs: A type of bone spur. These extra fragments of bone might grow around the afflicted joint and feel like hard lumps.

What are the causes?

Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones in your joints deteriorates over time. Cartilage is a tough, slick tissue that allows for practically frictionless joint movement. If the cartilage is fully worn down, bone will rub against bone.

Osteoarthritis is caused by a number of factors, including:

  • Older age.
  • Obesity
  • Joint injuries
  • Repeated stress on the joint
  • Genetics.
  • Bone deformities
  • Certain metabolic diseases

How to diagnose it?

Your doctor will examine the affected joint for tenderness, swelling, redness, and flexibility during the physical exam.

Imaging tests such as X-ray and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Lab test such as blood tests and Joint fluid analysis.

How to treat it?

Osteoarthritis can't be reversed, but treatments can reduce pain and help you move better. Consult your rheumatologist to know the options.

Dr. Mahmood Al-Majmuei
Consultant - Rheumatology

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