Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis knee

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of osteoarthritis

Degeneration of bones, cartilages, and joints occurs at the onset of old age and has detrimental effects on the overall health of a person. In most cases, these people suffer from chronic arthritis conditions. According to statistics produced by the Arthritis Foundation, the United States, nearly 350 million people suffer from arthritic conditions all over the world. There are about 140 different types of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis which is observed mostly in elderly females is “Osteoarthritis”. It is one of the leading causes of disability in low and middle-income countries. According to epidemiological studies by the World Health Organization, nearly 9.6% men and 18% women above the age of 60 suffer from osteoarthritic conditions.

 

Definition of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis jointOsteoarthritis is defined as the erosive degeneration of the joints, cartilages, soft tissues and bony outgrowths of the knee, ankle and other joints of the body due to age. In this condition, the topmost layer of the cartilage tissues wears away.

This impedes the gliding movements of the joints and causes reduced protection of the joints against mechanical shock (since these cartilages act as a buffer against external injuries).

In due course of time, portions of the affected joints and bones break off and float in the fluid between the joints (synovial fluid) causing severe pain and inflammation. Bone deformities are observed at a much later stage which causes restricted movements and immobility in a few cases.

 

Pathological condition

Three prominent conditions are observed in case of osteoarthritis-

  • Outward growth of the bones present at the edge of the joints occurs causing protrusions which are called osteophytes.
  • Swelling and inflammation of joints occur due to the generation of excess synovial fluid. This condition is often termed as “water in the knee” or “effusion”.
  • Abnormal thickening of capsules and ligaments occurs.

 

Causes of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis painThere are multiple etiological factors behind osteoarthritis. These are described below-

  • Natural disintegration and weakening of body muscles and joints occur with age (above 40) which can lead to joint damage
  • Increased pressure on the knee due to obesity and overweight conditions
  • Injury of the joints due to mechanical blow or rigorous physical activities
  • Injured meniscus, tendons or ligaments due to accidental twisting and bending
  • Ancestral history of osteoarthritis (due to HLA-DRB1 gene or mutation of collagen II gene)
  • Existing joint diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis or septic arthritis
  • Lifting of heavy weights on a regular basis due to occupational requirements
  • Autoimmune disorders leading to degeneration of the synovial tissues (primary contributor- Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase 22 gene)
  • Food materials like artificial fats, processed meat, refined carbohydrates, alcohol that evoke inflammation
  • Poor body postures

 

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is normally manifested as acute joint pain and inflammation. The general signs and symptoms are as follows-

  • Stiffness and pain in the joint especially in the morning
  • Inflammation and swelling of knee and ankle joints
  • Joint pain during slight movements of hand and legs
  • Temporary immobility (permanent immobility may also occur due to ankylosed or fused joints)
  • Cracking and crunching sounds during normal joint movements
  • Weakness and fatigue of muscles (may lead to muscular dystrophy)
  • Pain radiating to neighboring regions (lower extremities)
  • Redness in neighboring joint area
  • Extreme tenderness and touch sensitivity of joints
  • Throbbing pain in the joint and muscles after some activity
  • Bone and joint deformities (at an advanced stage)
  • Disturbed sleep due to increased joint pain at night
  • Difficulty maintaining normal body postures
  • Difficulty performing mundane activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs
  • Body aches and fever
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Visible bulges (due to bone spurs)

 

Types of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is classified into the following categories according to the origin and intensity of the disease-

Primary: It is also called idiopathic osteoarthritis and has the following subtypes-

Localized: It is observed in the following regions-

  • Osteoarthritis kneeHands: It is also called nodal arthritis and involves three or more joints. It is mostly interphalangeal in nature.
  • Hip: It may be concentric, eccentric or diffuse in nature. It may also be of superolateral, superomedial, medial or inferoposterior types.
  • Knee: It occurs at the end or adjoining portion of the femur bone. It may be medial tibiofemoral, lateral tibiofemoral or patellofemoral.
  • Spine: Osteoarthritis in the spine is manifested as apophyseal, intervertebral or spondylosis
  • Foot: Arthritis in foot affects mainly the first metatarsophalangeal joint, midfoot and hindfoot.

Generalized: It is observed mainly in the hands and knees. It affects the peripheral joints, central joints, and mixed joints. In hands, it affects mainly the Heberden nodes and Bouchard nodes.

Erosive: It is caused by extreme erosion of the cartilages.

Secondary: It is caused due to the following factors:

  • Bone dysplasia (due to structural or congenital disorders)
  • Surgical removal of the meniscus of the knee (meniscectomy)
  • Endocrinal disorders such as Diabetes mellitus, Diseases of the thyroid gland, Cushing syndrome.
  • Metabolic disorders such as Hemochromatosis, Gaucher disease or Wilson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Neuropathic arthropathy or Charcot joints ( bone deformities due to degeneration of weight-bearing joints)

 

Clinical complications

Apart from the symptoms discussed above, osteoarthritis may give rise to the following clinical complications-

  • Osteoarthritis with crystals: This condition is also called calcification or It is characterized by the deposition of calcium crystals in the cartilage.
  • Popliteal cysts: It is also called Baker’s cyst and is caused due to a production of excess synovial fluid.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests are performed to determine the exact cause of osteoarthritis-

  • X-rays (to determine the presence of joint damage or cartilage decay)
  • MRI scan ( to examine joint injury if any)
  • Synovial fluid analysis (to detect crystals in the joint)

 

Treatment and prevention

Treatment 

Medication 

  • Acetaminophen – These medications can help in relieving mild to moderate pain.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) –These include over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can help in relieving pain.
  • Duloxetine – Anti-depressants are known to reduce the levels of chronic pain.

Therapy 

  • Physical therapy – This may help in improving the movement range and reduction of pain in the affected joints.
  • Occupational therapy – This treatment method, aids the patient in how to go about their day-to-day activities by managing their pain. Adjusting their lifestyle in such a way that there is little pain felt.
  • Tai chi and yoga – These gentle exercises and stretched help in restoring movement, range and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Surgery 

  • Cortisone injections – Corticosteroid injections are provided to reduce the pain that is caused due to the friction of bones.
  • Lubrication injections – Injections of hyaluronic acid are provided to help in reducing the pain and giving a cushioning to the joints that have been affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Realigning bones – This surgical method is called osteotomy, where the surgeon makes a slit above or below the affected join and adds or removes a wedge of bone, thereby moving the bone away from the worn-out area.
  • Joint replacement – Here, the surgeon removes the worn-out bone and replaces it with a metal or plastic part, thereby restoring movement and reducing pain. This surgical method is called arthroplasty.

Prevention 

  • Managing occupational risks can help prevent osteoarthritis. Doing so tends to put less pressure on your joints.
  • Consume clean and healthy food such as fruits and vegetables omega-3 fatty acids etc.
  • Exercise regularly, low-impact exercised can help in improving joint health.
  • Do not consume excessive alcohol, doing so reduces the protein present in the cartilage in joints, causing pain.
  • Do not consume tobacco or tobacco-based products, as smoking reduces the production of cells in the cartilage.
  • Get sufficient amounts of vitamin D, as this helps in the absorption of calcium in the body.
  • Make sure to add vitamin C to your diet, doing so ensures that the antioxidants present in vitamin C help in developing the cartilage.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Exercise regularly, this helps in managing your weight and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Go for physiotherapy regularly, this helps in making sure that your joints retain mobility and reducing pain.
  • Use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) treatment therapy; this is good for the joints.
Don'ts
  • Consume alcohol, doing so can nullify the effects of the medications that you might be taking and cause further medical issue.
  • Indulge in smoking, since consuming nicotine can increase pain.
  • Indulge in extreme sports, as it can increase your pain.

 

 

 

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Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
Low fat diets
A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
PREGNANCY
Pregnancy During pregnancy, the body undergoes a number of biological and physical changes to accommodate and provide for the…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
free thyroxine ft4
Free thyroxine test (FT4) The FT4 or free thyroxine test is used to detect the level of free thyroxine of FT4 thyroid…
Gua sha: Scraping away layers of pain with this ancient healing tool Gua sha is an ancient oriental healing method which focuses on scraping the body with specific tools to…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
PROLACTIN-(PRL)
Prolactin Test (PRL) Prolactin or PRL is a lactogenic hormone produced to induce milk production in lactating mothers. PRL test measures…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
cardiolipin antibody igm
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgM Test This particular test measures the level of IgM type antibodies in the blood by using the ELISHA test…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
carbamazepine
Carbamazepine / Tegretol test The carbamazepine is a drug that is used to treat epilepsy and the carbamazepine test is performed to…
immunoglobulin M
Immunoglobulin M Test Immunoglobulin M is the largest and the first produced antibody which helps in the prevention or fighting of…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Sharpen your brain with these top brain-friendly foods! Did you know your diet could decide how razor sharp your memory is? Or that what you eat…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
labiaplasty
Labiaplasty Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to modify the labia minora and the labia majora. Learn about who can…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) –IgG Test The cardiolipin antibody IgG are responsible for the abnormal formation of clots in veins and arteries or phlebitis…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of oxidation caused by…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Muscle relaxers: Think twice before popping prescription drugs for muscle pain The market is brimming with OTC muscle relaxers. But these come with a host side-effects. Find out the…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
free testosterone test
Free testosterone Free Testosterone Test measures and monitors the level of the free testosterone in the blood. Less than 4%…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling creeping up on…
Is it possible to achieve full body detox with Master Cleanse? Master cleanse is a diet consisting of a lemonade based beverage, a salt water drink and a herbal…
Hibiscus: Nourish your beauty and health with these vibrant blooms Hibiscus is a trumpet shaped flower found abundantly in tropical countries. It has been historically used for its…

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