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Osteoarthritis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

Osteoarthritis is a medical condition which occurs when a protective cartilage which is placed at the ends of your bones wears down due to wear and tear. It usually affects the joints of your spine, hips, knees and hands. Osteoarthritis is considered the most common form of arthritis. Being active and leading a healthy lifestyle can slow down the development of this disease. Certain medications can also improve the joint function and improve pain.

What causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis usually occurs when the cartilage (a slippery and firm tissue that allows frictionless joint motion) which cushions the bones inside your joints start deteriorating. The surface beneath the cartilage starts becoming rough. If the cartilage is damaged completely, the bones can be rubbing together without a protective barrier in between. This can cause immense pain and discomfort.

Risk factors which can make you susceptible in developing Osteoarthritis:

  • Old age- When you start aging, your bones tend to grow weaker. This can cause Osteoarthritis.
  • Sex- Studies state that women are more prone in developing Osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity- Extra body weight can add more pressure and stress on the joints of your body, which can make the cartilage on your knees, hips and joints prone to more friction. Fat tissues also produce proteins which can cause chronic inflammation on your joints leading to Osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injuries- Injuries which occur while playing sports or from a fatal accident can increase your chances of developing Osteoarthritis. Injuries that have occurred several years ago can also make you develop Osteoarthritis in the future.
  • Some occupations- Certain jobs include tasks which put continuous stress on a particular joint. This region can easily get affected by Osteoarthritis.
  • Genetics- If one or both parents have Osteoarthritis, the child is also prone in developing Osteoarthritis.
  • Bone deformities- People who are born with a defective cartilage or malformed joint are more susceptible in developing Osteoarthritis.


Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by an orthopedic specialist. Usually tests like Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-rays are performed. These tests confirm the cartilage loss and bone spurs surrounding the affected joint. Sometimes, lab tests like blood test and Joint fluid analysis is carried out to analyze joint or blood fluid levels in your bone. These tests also confirm whether or not you have Osteoarthritis. Sometimes symptoms of Osteoarthritis can be similar to joint infection, gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Usually self diagnosable Lab test required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong Non communicable
Joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips Loss of flexibility. Grating sensation in the affected bones.

Popular Health Tips


Dr. Vineet Kumar 92% (955 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), Diploma in Hospital Administration
Ayurveda, Varanasi
In this fast lifestyle due lack of exercise weight gain in our body and joint become decay day by day and it's lead to damage of knee joint, so many times doctors advice knee joint replacement, in ayurveda we use janu basti panchkarma therepy to avoid operation and provide healthy lifestyle.
1 person found this helpful

Osteoarthritis: Not Just an 'Old Horse Disease'!

Dr. Ajay Rao 86% (10 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Orthopedics, Fellowship in Upperlimb and Limb Reconstruction (Australia)
Orthopedist, Bangalore
Osteoarthritis: Not Just an 'Old Horse Disease'!
Osteoarthritis: Complications and risk factors Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It affects millions of people around the world and is caused due to the gradual wear and tear of the protective cartilage at the end of your bones. The condition most commonly affects the joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine although it can damage any joint in the body. The symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and get worse with time, and include pain during and after physical activities like movement. The joints may become tender and may pain even with the application of light pressure. Stiffness and loss of flexibility are some of the other symptoms. The loss of cartilage due to gradual wear and tear causes the condition. It causes the smooth surface of the cartilage to become rough, giving rise to friction. Some of the risk factors involved that can increase your chances of developing the condition are: Old age - The chance of osteoarthritis increases with a person's age. Sex - A study concluded that women are more likely to develop the condition. Although there isn't an established reason, lesser physical activity is attributed as a possible cause. Obesity - Having excessive body weight can be a contributing factor. This is because it puts added pressure on the weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and the knees. Joint injuries - Joint injuries contracted due to sports activities, accidents or other such factors can increase the likelihood of this condition. Genetics - In some of the cases, the condition is observed to be passed from generation to generation. Bone deformities - Some people who are born with bone deformities and defects can have greater chances of having this condition. Other diseases - Having diseases like diabetes and gout can increase the risk of the condition. Some of the complications of this disease are: - Joint pain and stiffness may cause hurdles in daily activities. Daily activities like changing clothes can be painful. - Some people are unable to work any longer. Joint replacement surgeries are advised by doctors in these cases.
2413 people found this helpful

Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Hip!

Dr. Ankit Varshneya 87% (106 ratings)
MS orth, Diploma ort
Orthopedist, Agra
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis of the Hip!
When joints get inflamed, it is known as arthritis. This causes swelling and pain in the joints of your body such as the hips and the knees. When the cartilage gets damaged at the ends of bones, a type of arthritis called osteoarthritis occurs. There are two main types of osteoarthritis: Primary: This type is more generalized. It affects the knees, fingers, hips, spine and thumb. Secondary: This type can occur after injury or joint inflammation, or as a result of any disease that affects the ligament's composition, like hemochromatosis. How is the hip affected by osteoarthritis? Patients have difficulties walking if they have hip osteoarthritis. Diagnosing hip osteoarthritis is difficult. It is because the pain appears in varied locations, such as the groin, buttocks, knee or thigh. The pain can be a dull throb or can be sharp and stabbing. The hip is usually stiff. What are the causes of hip osteoarthritis? The causes of hip osteoarthritis are unknown. However, the factors that can lead to osteoarthritis are joint injury, excessive weight and rising age. Along with the abovementioned factors, the following may contribute as well: The joints may not have developed accurately The cartilage may have inherited the defects If the joints are too irritated due to added pressure on them, like excess body weight or stressful activities that include hip movement, osteoarthritis may develop. What are the symptoms of hip osteoarthritis? The symptoms of hip osteoarthritis are as follows: Joints feel stiff when you get out of bed Joints feel stiff if you have been sitting for some time The joints feel painful, swollen or tender You can hear (a "crunching" sound) or feel the bones rubbing against each other. You find yourself unable to do certain things, like putting on socks, as it requires your hips to move. How is hip osteoarthritis treated? The main objective of treatment is to restore the patient's ability to move around. A part of this objective includes correcting the function of the hip and managing the pain. The treatment can include: Joint care and rest To take weight off the area affected, a cane is used Pain relief that does not involve drugs Shedding excess weight Exercising Surgery Alternative and complementary therapies
4002 people found this helpful

Osteoarthritis Complete Treatment Guide!

Dr. Solasa Rama Krishna 92% (892 ratings)
BHMS, MD - Homeopathy
Homeopath, Vijayawada
Osteoarthritis Complete Treatment Guide!
Osteoarthritis is a Non Inflammatory disease that affects many joints, knee joint most common. In normal joint, a firm, rubbery material called cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In Osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. This disease, that mostly affects women, worsens over the time and should be treated as early as possible. Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis Symptoms of osteoarthritis vary, depending on which joints are affected and how severely they are affected. However, the most common symptoms are pain and stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning or after resting. Affected joints may get swollen, especially after extended activity. These symptoms tend to build over time rather than show up suddenly. Some of the common symptoms include: Sore or stiff joints after inactivity or overuse Limited range of motion or stiffness that goes away after movement Clicking or cracking sound when joint bends Mild swelling around a joint Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day Treatment Options For Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is a chronic (long-term) disease. There is no cure, but treatments are available to manage symptoms. Long-term management of the disease will include several factors: Managing symptoms, such as pain, stiffness and swelling Improving joint mobility and flexibility Maintaining a healthy weight Getting enough of exercise Physical Activity: One of the most beneficial ways to manage OA is to get moving. While it may be hard to think of exercise when the joints hurt, moving is considered an important part of the treatment plan. Simple activities like walking around the neighborhood or taking a fun, easy exercise class can reduce pain and help maintain (or attain) a healthy weight. Strengthening exercises build muscles around OA-affected joints, easing the burden on those joints and reducing pain. Aerobic exercise helps to improve stamina and energy levels and also help to reduce excess weight. Talk to a doctor before starting an exercise program. Weight Management: Excess weight adds additional stress to weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, feet and back. Losing weight can help people with OA reduce pain and limit further joint damage. The basic rule for losing weight is to eat fewer calories and increase physical activity. Stretching: Slow, gentle stretching of joints may improve flexibility, lessen stiffness and reduce pain. Exercises such as is great ways to manage stiffness. Braces: For varus and valgus deformity of knee joint, brace very helpful like Unloader Knee Brace has importent role in Osteoarthritis knee. Positive Attitude: Many studies have demonstrated that a positive outlook can boost the immune system and increase a person's ability to handle pain. Role of Homeopathy In Treating Osteoarthritis Homeopathy treats you as a whole and focuses on individualization. Homeopathic case taking analyses your physical and mental constitution. It considers your individual tendencies such as oversensitivity, muscle weakness, overstraining, repeated falls. If there is a deficiency or an imbalance of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, silica and magnesium it can lead to early degenerative changes in the bones. Homeopathic treatment aims at providing these minerals and arresting further damage to the bones. Homeopathic treatment can help to reduce the severity of symptoms and improve your range of motion. Preventive Measures People with endocrine disorders are prone to osteoarthritis. This includes hypothyroidism. You must immediately begin medications if you are diagnosed with thyroid conditions. In several cases, osteoporosis is genetic. One may inherit a tendency to develop bone deformities as he/she ages. X-ray after regular intervals helps the doctors to understand the condition of your bones and joints. This helps to prescribe exercises, medications and diet accordingly. Yoga helps to maintain joint flexibility and increase bone strength. It also helps to prevent stress and anxiety. A diet rich in protein and calcium helps to prevent degeneration and brittleness in bones. It is important to go out into the sun once in a while and soak up as much vitamin D as possible. This is a very healthy habit and contributes to the well-being of the entire skeletal systems.
5336 people found this helpful

How Osteoarthritis Can Be Prevented in Old Age?

Dr. Saurabh Rawall 89% (84 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics , FNB - Spine Surgery, Fellow in Spine Surgery, Fellowship In Paediatric Spine Surgery
Orthopedist, Delhi
How Osteoarthritis Can Be Prevented in Old Age?
Are you aware of a disease called osteoarthritis that is more likely to develop in case you are aging? Osteoarthritis is a disease, which affects the joints of your body. It occurs when the cartilages that protect and cushion your bones break down, causing swelling and pain, and may make you immobile. The chances of developing osteoarthritis increase with age as your cartilages start breaking down. Women who are beyond menopause are at a higher risk of getting this disease as they do not produce estrogen, which is essential for bone growth. There are several precautions you should follow for the prevention of osteoarthritis, especially if you are aged. They are as follows: Manage your occupational risks Certain jobs involve repetitive motions, which cause stress on your joints. If your job or occupation involves a lot of lifting, twisting, kneeling, and walking, you should consult a doctor. Exercise It is important for you to undertake exercises of low impact, which is very crucial for improving joint health, even if you are aging. You should choose activities that involve strength training along with stretching and aerobic exercise. Regular exercise helps in the slowing down or prevention of osteoarthritis. It helps you in maintaining healthy joints, reducing fatigue and pain, increasing your bone and muscle strength, and relieves stiffness. Maintaining a healthy body weight Excess weight is a primary risk factor for osteoarthritis, especially if you are aged. It causes extra stress on your joints that boosts the deterioration of your joint cartilage. If you are obese and overweight, your chances of developing osteoarthritis are more. Hence, you should lose extra weight for improving the symptoms. Rest Although exercise is important for keeping your joints and muscles healthy, you should avoid overdoing them. Have a balanced lifestyle, and when your joints become achy or swollen, give them a break. Abstain from using your swollen joint for at least 12 to 24 hours after experiencing them. Letting your injured joint rest helps in reducing your risk of osteoarthritis. Fatigue increases pain in osteoarthritis patients, and hence you must sleep properly. Control your blood sugar Diabetes is considered to be an important risk factor for osteoarthritis in aged individuals. High glucose levels may boost the formation of molecules that make your cartilage stiff. Diabetes also triggers inflammation, and promotes cartilage loss. It is important for you to keep your diabetes and blood sugar levels under control for preventing osteoarthritis. In spite of no specific cure for osteoarthritis, there are several ways of preventing and managing its symptoms. It is very important for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, and also to try and keep away from becoming obese.
2353 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, I am Suffering from Osteoarthritis. Seeking Permanent relief from Osteoarthritis. Kindly help me! Legs got swell up and joint pain. Can't even walk for sometimes.

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 89% (14829 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
Avoid sitting Cross legged. Avoid Squatting- Quadriceps Exercises- Lie straight, make a towel role and put it under the knee, press the keen against the role, hold it for 20 secs. Repeat 20 times twice a day. This will help relieve some pain. Core Strengthening Exercise- Straight Leg Raised With Toes Turned Outward, repeat 10 times, twice a day. Hams Stretching- lie straight, take the leg up, pull the feet towards yourself, with a elastic tube or normal belt. repeat 10 times, twice a day. Sports Taping- stretch the tape from both ends and apply on the affected area Contrast Fomentation (Hot and Cold).

My mom is suffered from osteoarthritis and Parkinson's disease from back 2 years and her both knee become bend and she can't walk and even can sit herself her both hand finger become stiff and her right hand wrist also bend. She is talking syndopa plus and rasalect as her main dose but there is no improvement in her condition. Is there any unani or ayurvedic doctor who can give me satisfactory suggestion about my mother and can treat her.

Dr. Vishwas Virmani 89% (14829 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Noida
Hams Stretching- lie straight, take the leg up, pull the feet towards yourself, with a elastic tube or normal belt. repeat 10 times, twice a day. Sports Taping- stretch the tape from both ends and apply on the affected area Contrast Fomentation (Hot and Cold).

Sir I am suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. I have been taken homeopathic medicine rhustox 30 and kalmia 6 from 1 year my health is now improve but my right knee on which I have an acl surgery and left elbow still has sever pain so I ask for homeopathic anti miasmatic deep acting medications please sir suggest me some anti miasmatic deep acting medicine.

Dr. Julie Mercy J David Raja 87% (1895 ratings)
Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
As arthritis is very common that you get generally bilaterally. Ice therapy would definitely help to reduce the inflammation. We also advise you to use knee cap which would help to prevent the knee from damaging further and also to maintain the quadriceps muscle tone. You can take Ultrasonic therapy in one of the nearby physiotherapy clinics which would help to heal the damaged cartilages along with shortwave diathermy which would help to improve the blood circulation. Knee cap will also help to prevent the damaged cartilages Simple Knee Exercies Specific knee exercises will also help ie. Keeping ball underneath the knee and keep pressing it. That's the simple exercise which will help you to strengthen the knee Ice therapy would definitely help to reduce the inflammation. We also advise you to use knee cap which would help to prevent the knee from damaging further and also to maintain the quadriceps muscle tone. I also advise you to use knee cap which would help to prevent the knee from damaging further and also to maintain the quadriceps muscle tone. If your pain is more in the distal joints, ie. In the upper limbs if the pain is present in the fingers/wrist and in the lower limbs it the pain is present in the toes/ ankle, then we shall definitely say it is Rheumatic arthritis. Wear elbow brace and wrist brace which will make you to feel warm and that will make the joints become firm. Hot water fermentation will help Knee cap will also help to prevent the damaged cartilages.
2 people found this helpful

My problem has been diagnosed as osteoarthritis of knee. Do I have a wholesome solution of this in homeopathy & physiotherapy?

Dr. Kushal Trivedi 88% (12 ratings)
B.P.O, M.P.O, M.R.C.I
Orthopedist, Surat
Yes with physical therapy you can strengthen your leg muscles and reduce wear and tear in knee joint but use of Osteoarthritis knee brace added to this will helps more to reduce pain and correct the pathology. For more guidance on this you can consult me.
1 person found this helpful

Query: regarding allopathic medicine. What is the difference between Diclofenac and aceclofenac medicine? Which one is better or more powerful?

Dr. Bharath Raj .R 95% (143 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Orthopedics, Fellowship in Arthroscopy and Sports Medicine
Orthopedist, Bangalore
Aceclofenac and diclofenac are both non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. Coming to your question of better or more powerful. They are two totally different concepts you have mixed up. Better is based on efficacy of the analgesic without causing much side effects and powerful is based on its extent of action irrespective of what side effects it has. Between the two aceclofenac is better and diclofenac is more powerful.
1 person found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Do you think you need to lose weight?

Dr. Vishwas Madhav Thakur 94% (871 ratings)
General Physician, Gurgaon
Eating less is the best way to lose weight. True or false. Take a quiz to know more about it.
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Knee Replacement - When It Is Required?

Dr. Madu Sridhar 86% (32 ratings)
MS - Orthopaedics, M.Ch Trauma & Ortho, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), MBBS
Orthopedist, Chennai
Osteoarthritis is the main reason for knee replacement. True or false? Take this quiz to know more.
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Arthritis Myths and Facts

Dr. Suraj Prakash 90% (73 ratings)
M.Ch - Orthopaedics, Fellowship in Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine, MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Do you know that you can slow the progression of Arthritis by living healthy? Test your knowledge about Arthritis by taking this quiz.
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