Osteoarthritis, also known as OA or degenerative joint disease, occurs when the cartilage that is located at the end of the bone begins to wear down. This form of chronic arthritis is one of the most common condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. Commonly, osteoarthritis is found in the knee, hips, lower back, neck, small joints of the fingers, bases of the thumb and big toe, however it can appear in any joint. When osteoarthritis is found in the spine, it is referred to as degenerative disc disease.
Who Is At Risk for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in people over the age of 65, however it can occur in people of all ages. Risk factors for OA include:
- Increasing age
- Overweight or obese
- Previous injury to the joint
- Overuse of the joint
- Weak thigh muscles
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Depending upon which joint is affected by OA, symptoms can vary. Common symptoms for degenerative joint disease include:
- Pain that worsens after activity
- Swollen joints
- Limited range of motion
- Clicking or cracking when bending
Pain from OA can make everyday tasks painful and more difficult to complete. If left untreated, OA can increase your chances for developing diabetes and heart disease, as well as increase your likelihood for falling, resulting in other serious injuries. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, and believe you may be suffering from osteoarthritis, contact us today for evaluation.
The first step in diagnosing osteoarthritis is a physical examination and an understanding of your past medical history. If necessary, our physician may order diagnostic tests, such as an MRI, X-ray, or joint aspiration exam. At your appointment, be prepared for the following:
- An examination of the joints
- An examination for your range of motion
- An examination of the alignment of the neck and spine
- A detailed description of your symptoms, including when the pain began and how the pain feels
- Details about other medical conditions you may be experiencing
- A list of current medications you are taking
- Location of the pain or stiffness
- Diagnostic/ Imaging tests as needed
Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is known as a chronic condition, meaning it does not clear up with treatment. However, there are many ways to manage the symptoms to live a pain free life. Our physicians will work with you one on one to help reduce current pain and avoid additional pain or injury in the future. Management tips for OA include:
- Diet and Exercise, including maintaining a healthy weight and exercising to strengthen muscles around the affected joint.
- Improving joint mobility and flexibility, such as through physical therapy, occupational therapy, or at-home workouts.
- Managing symptoms, such as pain, stiffness, and swelling through medications such as anti-inflammatory or steroid drugs.
- Surgery if needed to repair or replace damaged joints.
Visit The Physicians for Osteoarthritis Relief
If you are suffering from osteoarthritis symptoms, contact us today be evaluated by one of our joint experts. When you chose to work with The Physicians, you can rest easy knowing that you will be in good hands. Our team will not only manage your current symptoms but will work to eliminate future pain caused by osteoarthritis. Schedule an appointment today.