What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative bone disease that’s usually found in people over the age of 50. As the most common type of arthritis, Osteoarthritis primarily affects the cartilage – causing “wear and tear” around the ends of bones that meet to form a joint. People with Osteoarthritis experience joint pain and stiffness, along with swelling and tenderness. They may also hear a ‘crackling’ sound when they move the affected joints. Some people experience mild symptoms that can appear and disappear. Others experience continuous symptoms that make everyday activities a challenge. While osteoarthritis can affect any number of joints; areas such as the small joints in the hands, along with the knees and hips are most commonly affected. If the symptoms of osteoarthritis persist, it’s important to see your GP who can assess and carry out a diagnosis, or prescribe any treatment as necessary.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Everyday living exposes joints to a constant low level of damage. There are various factors that can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis including:
- Joint injury – Or overusing the joint when it hasn’t had enough time to heal, for example after an injury or operation
- Secondary arthritis – This occurs when joints are severely damaged by a previous or existing condition, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout
- Age – Risk of developing conditions such as Osteoarthritis increase as you get older
- Family History – It may run in families, but studies haven’t identified if a single gene is responsible
- Obesity – Being extremely overweight can put excess strain on the joints, particularly on the knees and hips that bear most of the weight