What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a common condition found in joints like the knees, hips, and shoulders. It can happen in any joint. Arthritis can be mild or could be severe “bone on bone” resulting in severe daily pain and disability. There are effective treatments available to relieve the pain without surgery including Cortisone Injections & Knee Viscosupplementation.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints; these are the most common types of arthritis.
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.
Statistics or other data
Osteoarthritis affects an estimated 27 million Americans. The chance of developing the disease increases with age. Most people over age 60 have osteoarthritis to some degree, but its severity varies. In people over age 50, more women than men have osteoarthritis.
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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis
Osteoarthritis, commonly known as wear and tear arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis is a common condition that mostly affects any joints in the hands, knees, hips, spine and shoulders. It can happen in any joint, it can be mild or could be severe “bone on bone” resulting in severe daily pain and disability.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in a joint to become stiff and lose its elasticity. Making the joint more susceptible to damage. As the cartilage deteriorates, tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain.
Over time, the cartilage may wear away in some areas, greatly decreasing its ability to act as a shock absorber. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. If the condition worsens, the bones could rub against each other. Over time bone spurs may grow on the edge of the joint and the joint may lose its normal shape.
What Are The Symptoms
- Loss of flexibility in your joint
- Pain in a joint during or after movement, or toward the end of the day
- Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints
- Stiffness after periods of inactivity or overuse
- Flare-ups of pain and inflammation after use of the affected joint
- Crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone (called crepitus)
- Bone spurs, extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.
- Tenderness. Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
There is no definitive test to diagnose osteoarthritis. To help determine whether you have the condition, your doctor will closely ask about your symptoms, medical history and examine your affected joint, checking for tenderness, swelling or redness, and for range of motion in the joint. Your doctor may also recommend imaging and lab tests.
Most people have some joint aches and pains as they age, if self-care techniques don’t sufficiently relieve your pain, a doctor may be able to prescribe other medical treatments or medications that will help.
Information your doctor may need to help diagnose Osteoarthritis includes:
- A description of your symptoms
- Medical history
- Details about when and how the pain or other symptoms began
- Where you are feeling pain, stiffness or other symptoms
- How the symptoms are affecting you
- Whether you have other medical problems that could be causing these symptoms
Your doctor may also recommend imaging and lab tests :
X-rays – May show that the cartilage is breaking down, typically revealing an uneven loss of cartilage and spurring of the underlying bone. It is not uncommon for people with no osteoarthritis symptoms to have X-ray signs of the condition.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan – Can help the doctor determine what is causing pain. Blood tests – these are usually performed in order to rule out other conditions, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Joint fluid analysis (arthrocentesis) – a sterile needle is used to withdraw (aspirate) fluid from an inflamed joint and then sent to the lab. If uric acid crystals are present it is more likely the patient has gout. This test can also determine whether there is inflammation or an infection.
While no cure exists, treatments are available that can relieve pain and help you remain active. Taking steps to actively manage your osteoarthritis may help you gain control over your symptoms.
There are effective treatments available to relieve the pain without surgery. Injection therapies are safe, minimally invasive procedures that can provide pain relief lasting for weeks, months or years. Prompt diagnosis of the area and a targeted treatment allow you to return to normal activity in a short period of time. In most cases our treatments avoid invasive surgery for the patient.
The doctor may recommend medications to help relieve pain when needed or physical therapy to help improve strength and function. When pain is severe and frequent or mobility and daily activities become difficult, surgery may be considered.
Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
- Board Certified
- Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Education & training
- SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
- Rutgers University Fellowship