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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

Hip Osteoarthritis - Know Everything About It!

Dr. Deepak Thakur 88% (103 ratings)
M.CH. (Ortho), MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Hip Osteoarthritis - Know Everything About It!
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

How To Take Care Of Your Joints As You Age?

Dr. Deepak Kumar Arora 85% (150 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Delhi
How To Take Care Of Your Joints As You Age?
Joint is one of the most obvious parts of our body which ages with an increase in the number of candles on our birthday cakes. As you age, joints tend to become stiffer and less flexible. The body does not recover from bumps and bruises as easily as it did before, and it becomes difficult to stand for extended time intervals. This is caused mostly by a breakdown of cartilage and inflammation of the synovium. What is cartilage? Cartilage is a thick rubbery connective tissue. It covers the ends of two bones in a joint. It is softer than bone tissue but less flexible than muscle tissue. Cartilage is responsible for the smooth movement of joints. With age, cartilage begins to degenerate. As the cartilage gets thinner, movement becomes more and more difficult. If left untreated, the cartilage may completely wear off leaving no buffer between the bones. This is one of the leading causes of knee replacement surgery. What is synovium? Synovium is a membrane responsible for keeping the cartilage healthy. It produces a thick fluid that keeps the cartilage and joint lubricated. In cases of osteoarthritis, this membrane can swell up and produce excess fluid. This in-turn causes the joint to swell as well. Along with age, factors like being overweight, genetics, gender and lifestyle also play a role in the condition of your joints. Being obese points towards a sedentary lifestyle and puts extra pressure on joints, leading to the thinning of cartilage. While men have higher chances of becoming osteoarthritis patients before 45, women have higher chances of developing this disease after 50. A healthy lifestyle is the easiest way to ensure that your joints work well even when you're old and grey. Exercise Movement of the joints keeps the fluid in them moving. It also prevents the cartilage from shrinking and stiffening up. Exercise also makes the bones stronger, and slows the rate of bone tissue deterioration. Stretching exercises are also a good way to maintain the flexibility of joints. Healthy diet Foods that are known as natural anti-histamines, antioxidants and foods that fight inflammation promote healthy joints. Some of these are: Green tea: It prevents the breakdown of collagen and cartilage - Nuts and seeds: These are rich in omega 3 fats that are essential for good bone health Ginger: It relieves pain and joint swelling Yogurt: It helps soothe tender joints and fights inflammation Hot and cold therapy can also help relieve joint pain and reduce inflammation. As you get older, avoid putting too much pressure on your joints and give them adequate rest. Lastly, avoid smoking, as people who smoke have an increased risk of cartilage loss.
1432 people found this helpful

Cervical Osteoarthritis - Physical Therapy Treatment For It!!

Dr. Mahesh G 85% (10 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Bangalore
Cervical Osteoarthritis - Physical Therapy Treatment For It!!
Cervical osteoarthritis is also known as cervical spondylosis. It is a medical condition which involves changes in the joints of neck, bones and discs. This is generally caused due to the deterioration of the muscles owing to old age. With age, the cervical spine breaks down and loses all its fluids. This leads to stiffness in the spine. It occurs usually in middle aged and old aged people. This causes stiffness and severe neck pain. Corrective surgery is helpful to cure Cervical Osteoarthritis. Symptoms of Cervical Osteoarthritis: Pain and stiffness in the neck. Headache which usually emerges from the neck. Severe pain in the arms and shoulder. Not being able to turn the head or neck fully while driving. Muscle spasm and abnormal reflexes. Grinding sensation or noise caused while bending the neck. Cervical Osteoarthritis can be cured by physiotherapy in the following ways: Heat modalities- In this method the pain and stiffness is reduced by putting heat on the affected area. This type of therapy is called heat therapy. Neck exercise- Regular stretching and bending exercises for the neck can reduce pain and stiffness Manipulating therapy- This form of therapy is used by massage therapists. They massage and manipulate the joints so that the muscles can function smoothly. Hydrotherapy- This therapy involves exercising in a pool. Hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial for people having severe joint pain and stiffness. Cervical traction- This is a common non-surgical treatment which cures pain in the neck by opening the cervical foramen (hole or passage). Physiotherapy is the most natural and safe way of curing cervical osteoarthritis. If you are diagnosed with cervical spondylosis, you should start physiotherapy as soon as possible.
3120 people found this helpful

Arthritis - What Type of Arthritis Do You Have?

Dr. Gautam Das 92% (1261 ratings)
Pain Management Specialist, Kolkata
Arthritis - What Type of Arthritis Do You Have?
What are the Different Kinds of Arthritis and How to Treat Them? Arthritis is a very common medical condition that affects a lot of adults as they age. It occurs due to inflammation of the joints, which can be caused by a number of factors such as aging, injury or infection. There are over a hundred different kinds of arthritis that cause various sorts of problems to those affected. However this condition can be broadly classified into two major types, which include the following: 1.Osteoarthritis - Also known as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is the most common kind of chronic condition to affect the joints. This occurs when the cartilage that surrounds the joint wears away and allows the ends of bones to rub against each other causing immense pain and is often accompanied by inflammation and swelling. The primary cause of osteoarthritis is aging and occurs mainly due to pressure on the joints from lifting heavy weights. 2.Rheumatoid Arthritis - This is the most common type of arthritis that occurs due to joint inflammation. It is an autoimmune condition, which means that it is caused by a dysfunction of the immune system that leads to inflammation of the joints. Chronic inflammation causes joint deformities and even the development of rheumatoid nodules on the skin around the joint. Two-thirds of patients affected by rheumatoid arthritis are women. Depending on the nature of the condition and the age and medical history of the patient, diagnosis, and treatment of arthritis varies. Although there is no permanent cure for arthritis, especially the type caused by aging, a number of remedies exist that provide relief from pain. Some of the common methods of treatment for arthritis are: Medication - Some medicines provide relief from the pain of arthritis if it is not too severe. These include painkillers, anti-inflammatory pills, sprays, and ointments, etc. In case of high-intensity pain, codeine is often prescribed. Stem Cell Therapy - This method involves drawing platelets from the patient's own blood and injecting it into the inflamed parts of the joint in order to repair damaged muscles and alleviate pain. Injections - A number of anti-inflammatory substances and lubricants can be injected into the affected joints to decrease pain. Ozone gas injections are an example of this. Surgery - In extreme cases, surgical procedures are resorted to for treating arthritis. However, successful surgery cannot always be guaranteed and it comes with its own set of risks.
1 person found this helpful

Osteoarthritis - 4 Symptoms Of It!

Dr. Sanjay Kapoor 88% (192 ratings)
M. Ch. (Orthopedic), MS - Orthopaedics, Diploma In Orthopaedics (D. Ortho), MBBS
Orthopedist, Gurgaon
Osteoarthritis - 4 Symptoms Of It!
As you age, the cartilage cushioning your joints starts wearing down, causing the bones to rub against each other. This causes osteoarthritis, which is a type of degenerative disease caused. The rubbing of the bones causes inflammation of the joints. The joints of the arms and legs along with the lower back are most commonly affected by this condition. Here are some common symptoms, which indicate that you are suffering from osteoarthritis: 1. Pain and tenderness: An aching back, knees, neck and hip with severe pain are some of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis. The pain caused during the early stage of arthritis is classified into tenderness and pain. A sharper pain may be felt while moving the affected joint in a certain way. Tenderness is the discomfort experienced when the joint is pressed along with visible swelling in the affected area. 2. Joint stiffness: Joint stiffness is another early symptom of osteoarthritis. It refers to the wooden feeling, which makes a person feel slow and sluggish. The urge to rest or go to bed should be resisted. Warming up the joints with gentle exercise or moving around cause relief. It also helps in reducing the stiffness and you can continue your regular activities with more ease. 3. Abnormal sensations: When the cartilage wears down, the rubbing of the bones against each other may lead to some abnormal sensations. Grating of the joints is common in people with osteoarthritis. One may feel that their joints are cracking or clicking while moving. 4. Loss of flexibility: People who are in their early stages of osteoarthritis may face difficulty with moving the areas which are affected. This joint stiffness and pain may lead to a loss of flexibility or loss of range of motion. Range of motion refers to the extent up to which one can move his joints normally. In case you are not being able to bend your knee fully or as far as you would have done it normally, you might be experiencing osteoarthritis. Loss of flexibility occurs slowly and gradually. A person may hurt his back unusually during a football game or may experience a stiff back in the morning after waking up. This gets more intense with time. In the later stages, you may experience joint pain even while resting. In case you experience any symptoms of osteoarthritis, you must consult a doctor immediately. The doctor will provide you with a plan aimed at managing and getting a quicker relief from the pain caused due to osteoarthritis. Several over-the-counter medicines, braces for supporting affected joints and range of motion exercises are also effective ways of managing osteoarthritis.

Popular Questions & Answers

I met with and accident in 2011 and underwent surgery for compartment syndrome and was on bed for 3 moths and then 2012 had another seizure for pcl acl mcl reconstruction. after that I had a pain in knee whenever I walk and extend my knee 180 degree. Further came to know they I have grade on osteoarthritis. I took an injection of hyaluronic acid. But now I have pain under my patella whenever I run and whenever I use stairs.

Dr. Lochan Arora 90% (74 ratings)
MPT - Orthopedic Physiotherapy, Diploma in Diet and Nutrition
Physiotherapist, Delhi
you are still having meniscus rupture, which can cause pain behind knee. because of OA ,Patella comes in friction with other bones , and pain will come when u walk. do patella mobilization , as well as physiotherapy

X ray report says spiky marginal osteophytes. Experience pain in left hand and sometimes left side head. Pls suggest the actual problem and probable treatment.

Dr. Chandresh Harisinghani 89% (12 ratings)
Diploma in Pharmacy, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Pune
Hi, I think if you have osteophytes in your hand at joint sides. U will definitely feel pain, if size is more and movement have very painfull and obstacles. You should contact with orthopedic surgeon. If pain occurs particular point so you should contact Physiotherapist to use Ultrasound treatment for some days. And follow some conservative treatment.

Sir I am 40 years I have arthritis osteofied in right elbow extension & flexion is restricted I had been operate for this purpose doing physio but a satisfied is not received kindly give some advise I am a force member right hand is necessity for me.

Dr. Julie Mercy J David Raja 90% (4158 ratings)
Erasmus Mundus Master in Adapted Physical Activity, MPT, BPTh/BPT
Physiotherapist, Chennai
Apply ice in the painful area which would definitely help to greater extent. And you can wear elbow brace which would help you to keep your elbow warm and will give you protection.

My age is 25 only. Since 2 weeks some sound is getting in my knees when I bend knees or while doing exercises. Is it normal r any unhealthy in my legs.

Dr. Rahul (Pt) 87% (81 ratings)
Physiotherapist, Agra
Hi lybrate-user. You can do quadriceps exe to strengthen the surrounding muscles of knee joints and take parrafin wax bath also for some days ,you get soon relif. For more detail get audio ,text consultaion. REGARDS.
1 person found this helpful

Health Quizzes

Arthritis - Few Common Facts!

Dr. L Tomar 88% (11 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, M.Ch, FICS(USA)
Orthopedist, Delhi
Arthritis only affects people of old age. True or false. Take this quiz to know more.`
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Rheumatoid Arthritis - Interesting Facts About It!

Dr. Sree Hari Reddy Gadekallu 89% (45 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, Fellowship in Rheumatology
General Physician, Khammam
There is no link between rheumatoid arthritis and smoking. True or false. Take this quiz to know more.
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Neck Pain - What All Can Lead To It?

Dr. Gautam Das 92% (1261 ratings)
Pain Management Specialist, Kolkata
Poor posture can trigger Cervical Spondylitis. True or false, take this quiz to know more.
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Do you think you need to lose weight?

Dr. Vishwas Madhav Thakur 92% (909 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 84% (43 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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