Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint condition affecting millions worldwide. While it’s most commonly associated with aging, it can also affect younger individuals due to various factors.
Below, the Joint Relief Associates of New York team delve into the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of osteoarthritis, shedding light on this often misunderstood ailment:
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, often referred to as degenerative joint disease, is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. Cartilage is the protective tissue that cushions the ends of bones in a joint, allowing for smooth and pain-free movement. As cartilage deteriorates, bones can rub against each other, leading to pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
- Aging: The most common cause of osteoarthritis is the natural aging process. As we get older, our cartilage may weaken and become more susceptible to damage.
- Joint Overuse or Injury: Repetitive joint use or injuries, such as fractures or ligament tears, can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis in affected joints.
- Genetics: Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis, making them more likely to develop the condition.
- Obesity: Carrying excess body weight puts added stress on weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees, and spine, increasing the likelihood of OA development.
- Joint Misalignment: Abnormal joint alignment or structural issues can lead to uneven pressure on the joint, which may accelerate cartilage wear and tear.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can vary in severity and may develop slowly over time. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Joint Pain: Osteoarthritis often causes pain, which can be mild to severe. Pain typically worsens with joint use and improves with rest.
- Stiffness: Affected joints may feel stiff, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
- Decreased Range of Motion: As cartilage deteriorates, joint flexibility and range of motion may decrease.
- Swelling: Inflammation can occur in the affected joint, leading to swelling and tenderness.
- Grating Sensation: Some individuals may notice a grating or grinding sensation when moving the affected joint.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
If you suspect you have osteoarthritis, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation for an accurate diagnosis. Healthcare providers use a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests to confirm osteoarthritis. Here’s what you can expect during the diagnostic process:
- Medical History: Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, their duration, and any risk factors or previous injuries.
- Physical Examination: A physical examination will be conducted to assess joint movement, stability, and signs of inflammation.
- Imaging: X-rays can help visualize joint damage and cartilage loss. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used in some cases for a more detailed view.
- Blood Tests: Although there is no specific blood test to diagnose osteoarthritis, blood tests can help rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms.
For expert joint health care in New York, contact our team today!
Here at Joint Relief Associates of New York, we specialize in joint pain relief for all areas of the body to help you work toward a better quality of life. We take great pride in offering the finest services geared towards alleviating joint pain and providing the best experience for our patients at every step of the recovery process.
Call our office today at 516-590-7410 or visit our website to schedule an appointment for your FREE initial consultation. We are looking forward to hearing from you!