OA is a form of arthritis which results due to considerable wear and tear of the joints. It is the most common type of Arthritis. All the bones in our body are joined together by a Cartilage. Any changes in the cartilage, results in OA.
OA is the inflammation of the joints of the knees, hips, spine, neck, hands and toes. It is the most common type of arthritis affecting men and women alike but women are more likely to get OA.
Cartilage is a rubber like material covering the joints of the bones on either ends. In OA, the cartilage is hardened and loses its elasticity and hence cannot adjust itself to certain movements. The joints and the bones are then exposed, and tend to rub against each other resulting in friction and inflammation.
This inflammation causes pain, aches, discomfort, stiffness and less mobility and leads to the degeneration of the bones.
The main causes of OA are:
Heredity: Inherited genes results in OA.
Obesity: OA normally affects the weight bearing joints hence being obese increases the chances of OA.
Injury: Athletes and people who have suffered any injuries to the bones may get OA.
Joints overuse: Certain activities and jobs which require the continuous bending of the knees may lead to development of OA.
Other disease: Any other condition like rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to OA.
Certain deficiencies in the body.
The signs and symptoms of OA include:
Joint aches and soreness, especially after any movement or activity
Pain after long period of overuse or long period of no activity
Enlargement of bones in the middle and the either ends of the joints
Swelling is the most common sign of OA
The diagnosis of OA involves the following:
The presence of the above signs and symptoms
Physical examination of the pattern of pain
Family and medical history
Apart from these the doctor may:
Use X-Rays, MRIs, Blood tests and sometimes Test of fluids from the Joints.
The expert you consult is an Orthopaedic Surgeon. OA is not curable; it can only be treated with a combination of medication and movement restrictions to help reduce the symptoms of OA.
The doctor may suggest a line of treatment after taking into consideration factors like the age, overall health, occupation, medical history, location of the pain and severity of the condition.
The doctor may advise on the type of medication and therapies and the option of Surgery in some cases. It is usually it is a team of doctors and therapists who guide you in OA.
If your genes are the cause of OA, then you are at a higher risk of developing OA. Preventive medications and other options can help you with the easing of the symptoms and slow down the process of degeneration of joints and bones.
Avoiding of risk factors and good management of daily activities helps relieve the symptoms.
Being overweight is the other major cause so one should try and maintain the ideal weight to reduce the pressure on the joints. Be safe and avoid injuries. Avoid too much stress. Do only mild exercises. Consume a balanced diet fortified with nutrients and wear proper shoes which do not stress the joints.
Once you have OA, it cannot be cured completely but you can lead a quality life by managing the symptoms with a well planned strategy.
The world famous Basket ball player Shaquille Rashoun O’Neal known as ‘Shak’ is a classic example of an overweight athlete who overcame his condition of OA and won may matches. He handled many careers, that of a professional basket ball player, a rapper and now after retirement, is an Analyst with National Basketball Association.
Shak overcame his OA and is a good example to manage the symptoms effectively and succeed.