The human body is able to move fluidly because there are various joints, muscles, tendons and cartilages that work together to make this happen. Movements of the hands, legs, back, hips, knees and wrists are controlled this way. For various reasons, however, these tissues grow stiff, thereby, reducing free movement. Any movement causes pain and stiffness and swelling of the joints, which forces the patient to reduce physical activity. This reduced activity further leads to the joints becoming stiff, thus putting the patient in a difficult position.
What causes it?
The ends of the bone are covered by softer tissue called cartilage, which is responsible for allowing the free movement. In patients with osteoarthritis, this cartilage is lost and the bones rub against each other, producing pain and a crackling sound with the movement. Some of the most common causes include the following:
What are the signs and symptoms?
As noted already, painful movement is the most common symptom of osteoarthritis. There could also be swelling and redness around the affected joint(s).
Diagnosis: The doctor will usually be able to identify osteoarthritis after an examination, but in some cases, an X-ray or MRI may be required to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for osteoarthritis is multipronged.
In addition, support groups and counselling may also help significantly in patients who find their quality of life being reduced due to this condition. Remember, not all is lost with osteoarthritis. It is definitely possible to get your life back to its earlier days when you were able to move about freely.