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Osteoarthritis (osteoarthrosis)


Disease: Osteoarthritis (osteoarthrosis) Osteoarthritis (osteoarthrosis)
Category: Bones, joints, muscles diseases

Disease Definition:

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis. When cartilage in the joints wears down over time, this condition occurs. Osteoarthritis could affect any joint in the body, but most commonly it affects joints in the:


  • Neck
  • Hips
  • Lower back
  • Hands
  • Knees


Osteoarthritis doesn’t have a cure and it gradually gets worse with time. But treatments for this disease could relieve pain and help the affected person stay active. In order to gain control over symptoms, a person could take steps to actively manage their osteoarthritis.

Work Group:

Symptoms, Causes


Symptoms of Osteoarthritis frequently grow slowly and get worse with time. Signs and symptoms of this condition include:


When a person applies pressure on the joint, it may feel tender. 


During or after movement, the patient may experience pain in their joint. 

Bone spurs:

There may be extra bits of bone around the affected joint, which may feel like hard bumps.


When waking up in the morning or after a period of inactivity, joint stiffness might be most noticeable.

Loss of flexibility:

The affected person might be unable to move their joint through its full range of motion.

Grating sensation:

When using the joint, a grating sensation might be felt or heard
In the case of experiencing swelling or stiffness in the joints that lingers for more than two weeks, consulting a doctor might be considered. When someone already takes medications for osteoarthritis and experiences side effects such as the followings, he/she might need to consult a doctor:


  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Black or tarry stools


When the cartilage cushioning the ends of bones in the joints deteriorates with time, Osteoarthritis occurs. Irritation may result in case the smooth surface of the cartilage becomes hard.


The ends of someone’s bones will become damaged and their joints painful, in case the cartilage completely wears down and causes bone to rub on bone. The reasons for the occurrence of osteoarthritis are mostly unknown. Researchers suspect that it’s a combination of factors, such as:


  • Heredity
  • Muscle weakness
  • Obesity
  • The aging process
  • Stress or joint injury


Some of the factors that may increase a person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis include:


For unknown reasons, women are more likely to grow osteoarthritis than are men.

Joint injuries: 

Someone’s risk of osteoarthritis may be increased due to injuries that result from an accident or playing sports. 

Older age:

People under 40 seldom experience osteoarthritis because this condition usually occurs in older adults.


Carrying more body weight places more stress on the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees.

Bone deformities: 

Someone’s risk of developing osteoarthritis will be increased in case he/she is born with malformed joints or defective cartilage.

Certain occupations: 

In the case of having a job that includes tasks placing repetitive stress on a specific joint, that might predispose that joint toward finally growing osteoarthritis. A joint may be predisposed to finally growing osteoarthritis in case the person’s job includes tasks that place repetitive stress on a specific joint.

Other diseases: 

A person’s risk of developing osteoarthritis will be increased in case he/she has Paget’s disease of bone, septic arthritis, gout or rheumatoid arthritis.



The joint pain and stiffness associated with 0steoarthritis might become severe enough to make it hard to get through the day, if not impossible. This is a degenerative disease that gets worse over time. Some people are unable to work. Usually, joint replacement surgery is recommended for people who have severe joint pain.


While treatments for Osteoarthritis could help in decreasing pain and maintaining joint movement so that the person could keep doing their daily tasks, but this condition doesn’t have a known cure.




This medication doesn’t decrease inflammation, despite the fact that it relieves pain. People with arthritis who have mild to moderate pain can benefit from acetaminophen. Taking more than the suggested dosage of acetaminophen could cause liver damage, particularly if the affected person consumes three or more alcoholic drinks a day. In case someone takes acetaminophen regularly, he/she should abstain or limit the amount of alcohol they consume. In case someone’s taking other medications, they should inform their doctor about it for acetaminophen could affect those other medications.


Pain could be relieved and inflammation reduced with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Naproxen sodium and ibuprofen are two examples of over-the-counter NSAIDs. However, there are also prescriptions NSAIDs that are stronger than the ones mentioned above. Some prescription NSAIDs come in the form of a patch that could be attached to the skin, and others in the form of a gel that could be rubbed on the painful joint because oral NSAIDs can cause stomach upset. Liver and kidney damage, ringing in the ears and cardiovascular problems are some of the other side effects of these medications. In case someone uses NSAIDs in high doses and for a long time, then his/her risk of major side effects will be increased.


This prescription medication is a centrally acting analgesic. It provides effective pain relief with fewer side effects than those of NSAIDs, but it doesn’t have anti-inflammatory effect. Acute flare-ups are usually treated with tramadol for a short period of time. In order to increase pain relief, the doctor may recommend using this medication in combination with acetaminophen. Nausea and constipation are some of the side effects of this medication.

Stronger painkillers: 

Pain pills available by prescription might offer relief from more severe osteoarthritis pain; propoxyphene and codeine are some examples. These stronger drugs carry a risk of dependence, although that risk is considered to be small in people suffering from severe pain. Nausea, sleepiness and constipation might be some of the side effects.

Cortisone shots: 

Pain in the joint may be relieved with corticosteroid injections. The area around the joint is numbed during the procedure, a needle inserted into the space within the joint and medication is injected. Why exactly corticosteroid injections benefit people with osteoarthritis is still not known. Too many corticosteroid injections might result in joint damage, because of this, the number of injections that could be taken each year is limited. 



Working with a physical therapist:

To strengthen the muscles around the joint, increase the range of motion in the joint and reduce pain, the patient can work with a physical therapist to create an individualized exercise regimen.

Finding ways to avoid stressing the joints: 

An occupational therapist could help the patient discover ways to go about their day without adding up extra stress on their already painful joint. For example, when having finger osteoarthritis, a toothbrush with a large grip could ease the act of brushing. When having knee osteoarthritis, a special seat in the shower could help relieve the pain of standing.

Trying braces or shoe inserts: 

To reduce pain, special splints, braces, shoe inserts or other medical devices could be considered. These devices keep pressure off the joint by immobilizing or supporting it.




These treatments are made of rooster combs and are close to a component naturally found in the joint fluid. Although researchers are studying its use in other joints, but for now, viscosupplementation is approved only for knee osteoarthritis. By providing some cushioning in the knee, injections of hyaluronic acid derivatives may offer pain relief. 

Joint replacement:

In arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery) the damaged joint surfaces are removed and replaced with plastic and metal devices known as prostheses. The most commonly replaced joints include the hip and knee joints. But nowadays the joints of the shoulder, finger, elbow or ankle could be replaced with implants. How the patient uses these joints, will determine how long the new joint would last. Some knee and hip joints could last for 20 years. The affected person will be able to resume an active, pain-free lifestyle thanks to joint replacement surgery. Additionally, it could improve appearance and comfort in smaller hand joints and might even improve the mobility of the joints. There is a small risk of infection and bleeding in the joint replacement surgery procedure. Artificial joints could wear or come loose and might evidently require to be replaced.

Realigning bones: 

Pain might be relieved by surgery to realign bones. When joint replacement surgery isn’t an alternative, for instance, in younger people suffering from osteoarthritis, these kinds of operations are commonly used. The surgeon cuts across the bone either above or below the knee to realign the leg during an operation called an osteotomy. By transferring the force of the joint away from the worn-out section of the knee, this procedure could decrease knee pain.

Fusing bones: 

In order to increase stability and decrease pain, surgeons might permanently fuse bones in a joint (arthrodesis). Although the fused joint, like ankle, could later bear weight without pain, but will not have any flexibility. When someone experience severe pain in their joint but can’t undergo joint replacement surgery, arthrosesis could be an option.


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