Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that causes the cartilage to disintegrate, causing friction between the bones. To put this into perspective, two bones come together to form a joint with the ends covered by a layer of protective tissue known as cartilage. The cartilage prevents the bones from rubbing together. This is why the most common areas of the body where OA occurs include the knees, fingers, hips, hands, lower back and shoulders.
Well, let’s delve in deeper and tell you everything you need to know about osteoarthritis, including the causes, symptoms, risk factors and how to manage this condition.
For starter, here are some known causes of osteoarthritis:
- Malformation or damage of the joints
- Poor posture
- A previous injury
- Being obese or overweight
Risk factors of osteoarthritis
There are a number of predisposing factors that could increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis including:
- An underlying medical condition affects your joints’ health, such as another variation of arthritis or diabetes.
- Gender, with men having a lower risk of developing OA.
- An occupation that involves lots of heavy lifting, climbing or kneeling.
- Family history of OA.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
Now that you know a thing or two about the predisposing factors, let’s dive into the most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Stiffness and pain in the joints
- Reduced range of motion and flexibility
- Painless bone spurs
- Discomfort when you press the problem area with your fingers
- A popping or crackling sound anytime you move your joints
Unfortunately, the symptoms of OA become more pronounced the longer you go without managing this condition. Pain becomes unbearable, and your joints might start to swell. Therefore, we advise you to take a proactive approach and seek medical attention as soon as you notice anything is amiss.
How to manage osteoarthritis
From what we have gathered above, osteoporosis is a scary condition with negative implications for the body. Fortunately, you can take measures to manage this condition and lead a healthy, pain-free life. Let’s discuss how to treat and manage osteoarthritis.
Go to a specialist
You cannot effectively manage OA independently. If you are experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, it would be wise to seek medical attention from a specialist near you. For instance, if you are in California and are experiencing knee pain from OA, you can reach out to knee specialist, Warren Strudwick, Jr., who will help assess your situation and leverage innovative treatment options to alleviate the discomfort.
When you are overweight, you strain your knees and joints significantly, leading to excruciating pain. Therefore, managing your weight by exercising at least three times a week would be wise. Regular physical activity also reduces the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Consider heat and cold therapy
A rule of thumb is to use heat for stiffness and muscle pain and cold for pain, swelling, acute injuries or inflammation. The increased temperatures from heat therapy improve blood circulation to the problem area, promote muscle flexibility and ease discomfort. On the other hand, cold treatment, also known as cryotherapy, discourages blood flow to the afflicted area, leading to reduced swelling and inflammation.
Unfortunately, OA has no known cure but you can still lead a normal life. Ensure you seek medical help from a top Orthopedic surgeon to help you cope with the situation. You can also strive to make tweaks to your lifestyle to reduce the symptoms of OA.