Osteoarthritis – Joint issues are one of the top reasons people visit their doctor, including for osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is seen especially among an estimated 27 million Americans age 25 and older. It is by far the most common type of arthritis, and the percentage of people who have it grows higher with age.
Sometimes osteoarthritis it is called degenerative joint disease, and mostly affects the cartilage, rather than the bone itself. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint.
Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, small deposits of bone, also known as osteophytes or bone spurs, may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
Those living with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and stiffness. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joint function, including pain and stiffness. The most commonly affected joints are those at the ends of the fingers (closest to the nail), thumbs, neck, lower back, knees, and hips. It also can occur in a single joint or can affect a joint on one side of the body much more severely.
Osteoarthritis affects different people differently. It may progress quickly, but for most people, joint damage develops gradually over years. In some people, osteoarthritis is relatively mild and interferes little with day-to-day life; in others, it causes significant pain and disability.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have Osteoarthritis. We can provide helpful treatments to help with your symptoms.