Osteoarthritis otherwise known as degenerative joint disease or Osteoarthrosis is a type of a joint disease that manifests due to degenerative changes setting in the joints which is typically characterized by damage or destruction to the cartilages that are present within each joint. The most commonly affected joint is the knee joint. The other joints that are affected are the wrists, fingers, toes, back, neck and hips.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
The main cause for osteoarthritis to set in, is the degeneration (wear and tear) that occurs naturally in the process of ageing.
- Genetic factors – Genetic vulnerability to osteoarthritis is one of the important factors.
- History of previous injury to the joint can accelerate the process of degenerative changes.
- Overweight – This can usually affect in manifestation of degenerative changes in the weight bearing joints typically the knee joint.
- Difference in length of the two legs – which leads to unequal distribution of weight and hence resulting in excessive weight bearing in one of the limbs which accelerates the process of degeneration.
- Metabolic changes and sex hormones – female hormones have a protective effect and so women are protected till menopause but the risk increases thereafter.
Osteoarthritis may be caused as a result of other diseases. Some of them are as below
- Congenital anomalies
- Parthe’s disease
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis and Gout
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
- Pain and restriction of movement are the main symptoms in a patient suffering from osteoarthritis. In a patient suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee joint there might be increase in pain while walking and climbing up or down stairs.
- The muscles associated with that joint may weaken which further aggravates the restriction of movement.
- There may be swelling in and around the region of the joint due to secondary inflammation (Inflammation that sets in to remove the debris caused by wear and tear).