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Last Updated: Nov 01, 2021
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Osteoarthritis - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

About Stages Causes Diagnosis: Diet Exercise

What is Osteoarthritis?

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 is difference between arthritis and Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis, as the word itself indicates inflammation of joints, is a common term that includes any part of the body. On the other hand, Osteoarthritis is specifically inflammation of joints in the knees, hips, fingers, and joints at the thumb base or big toe base. Besides this, it shows the involvement of the spine too. It is basically a type of arthritis that has its own characteristic features.

What are the 4 stages of Osteoarthritis?

Out of all types of arthritis, Osteoarthritis is the most common, involving inflammation of joints, which affects knees, hips, and hands. It has four stages. Stage 0 does not involve any inflammation of joints while there is inflammation to a much lesser extent in Stage 1, accompanied by the least chances of symptoms.

Symptoms of joint pain start to appear in Stage 2, manageable by doing exercises, followed by Stage 3 which shows signs of erosion in the cartilage between bones, leading to frequent pain. Stage 4 is the advanced phase, characterized by severe pain and discomfort due to stiffness of joints.

Is Osteoarthritis a disability?

Osteoarthritis can be considered a disability based on the severity of the condition. In case the symptoms are severe, one may not be able to perform the basic works related to his/her job, and this way the individual can be considered suitable to avail the benefits of Social Security disability i.e SSA. The medical evidence related to the diagnosis should be matched to the points listed in the blue book of SSA in order to avail of its benefits.

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.

What foods should be avoided if you have Osteoarthritis?

Food is always associated with the betterment or worsening of the symptoms of a disease. The same is with the case of Osteoarthritis, in which some foods that aggravate the condition, need to be avoided. These include large amounts of sugar and salt, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, dairy products, and monosodium glutamate.

Is Vitamin D good for Osteoarthritis?

As Osteoarthritis is related to the joints, which in turn is associated with the bones, it clearly states that vitamin D is significantly needed in this case. Osteoarthritis is accompanied by poor bone health which results in weakening and thinning of the bones, especially in older age groups. Vitamin D helps in preventing the thinning of bones as well as its anti-inflammatory properties allow an improvement in bone health.

What exercise is good for Osteoarthritis?

Although the pain in Osteoarthritis does not allow the person to do exercises, exercise is quite effective in such cases which allows increased movement of joints and also helps in pain reduction. Different types of exercises that are preferred include flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises, aerobics, walking, and aquatic exercises. Each of the exercises has its own importance in the improvement of the condition of Osteoarthritis.

Is walking good for Osteoarthritis?

Walking is a form of exercise and exercises are medically preferred in case of Osteoarthritis. They allow the movement of joints and prevent stiffness and muscle weakness. If someone is unable to do exercises due to symptoms of pain, he or she should do a walk for a few minutes at least. Exercise improves the lifestyle and helps in minimizing the symptoms such as pain.

Summary: Osteoarthritis is a health condition characterized by inflammation of joints in the knees, hips, fingers, joints at the thumb base or big toe base, and spine. It is accompanied by poor bone health which results in weakening and thinning of the bones, especially in older age groups. It cannot be cured but can be controlled and managed by physical exercises and diet changes.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 21 years old, i'm having a back pain and low hip pain from 2 years and also recently 4 months it's very tough. For that i'm taking daily pain killers like aceclofenac and diclofenac tablets from 1 year. What to do please give me suggestions and now i'm worried about my kidneys because I am taking daily painkillers .please provide useful thing and also tell me tips not to get kidney issues and this pain. Thank you.

Fellowship in Joint Replacement, DNB (Orthopedics), MBBS
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I believe that you may have a severe slipped disc, or more likely some form of rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. Pain killers mask the pain, they do not cure you. You need thorough investigations to find the cause of pain. Treatment ...

From last 2 weeks. I am facing server pain in my ankles.(with swelling) elbows and wrists and few fingers. It gets worse if pressed or moved. I have to take 1 pain killer (fenac plus) twice a day (1/2 each) to survive a day. I am not sure who is the specialist for it and I really don't have money to visit a Dr. to hear who can actually help. Please help with possible root cause and right type of specialist to go to get this cured please help as this is getting worse everyday.

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Hi, based on your information, it appears you are having inflammatory polyarthritis, most probably rheumatoid arthritis. A consultation with a rheumatologist would be quite helpful to you at this stage of symptoms. Hope this is helpful to you. Wis...
1 person found this helpful

Dear doctor, I have been consulting you often. Of late my urine output seems to be declining. You had prescribed renosave forte when my creatinine had gone up to 1.4 and feburic 40 when my uric acid had gone beyond 7. When my uric acid levels had come down and creatine was 1.2 you had advised me to stop both feburic 40 and renosave but uric acid levels again touched 7.1 after a few months and you asked me to take feburic 40 again. I want an online consultation.

MBBS, CCEBDM, Diploma in Diabetology, Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Cetificate Course In Thyroid Disorders Management (CCMTD)
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Hello, thanks for the query. I have seen the details mentioned. However, I do not recall the earlier consultations done. I am Dr. p l jathar, please check whether you have consulted me only. In any case, uric acid level remaining at 7 mg/100 ml is...

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