The older we get, the more likely we are to suffer from a musculoskeletal disease such as arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis and it affects a whopping 27 million people across the globe. If you often exercise or are an athlete, you may be more at risk and so understanding the common symptoms ensures you can get treatment as soon as possible. Here is everything you need to know about osteoarthritis.

Causes

Osteoarthritis occurs due to general wear and tear of the joints. This wear and tear gradually grinds down the cartilage, which cushions the end of each bone, meaning that your bones are no longer protected from one another. Eventually, bones will begin to chafe against one another, which can cause damage, swelling, and pain. Depending on the severity, bones and cartilage can begin to break and float around the joints, which causes more pain and tenderness. Those who are over the age of 65 are more likely to get osteoarthritis, but this doesn’t mean those under this age are immune. Those who are overweight are also more likely to suffer from this form of arthritis. The knee is the most common joint in the body to develop osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms have been listed above and most commonly you will experience unexplained pain in the affected joints. Other symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Clicking/cracking sounds
  • Grinding sensation
  • Limited movement, especially after extended periods of rest
  • Pain, often after strenuous activity or near the end of a day

Getting osteoarthritis diagnosed early means you can begin to treat and manage these symptoms to live as normally as possible.

Treatments

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but there are treatments to slow the progression of this arthritis and help to manage the pain and limited movement that can occur. If you are overweight, one of the first steps in treatment will be to get to a healthy weight. This is usually in the form of low-impact exercises, like walking or swimming. Yoga is another great form of exercise to reduce pain and improve flexibility in those who suffer from osteoarthritis. Hot and cold therapy may be used on the area and anti-inflammatory medications can also help.

You may be referred to a physical therapist who can provide you with specific exercises for your condition. Yale Medicine specializes in orthopedic conditions and treatments such as osteoarthritis. With leading specialists and world-class equipment, orthopedic surgeons can aid you in managing your symptoms. Doctors can provide you with a range of options for treating osteoarthritis, from surgery to joint preservation; you can browse the different orthopedic treatments and begin your journey to a happier and healthier you.

Osteoarthritis doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Doing everything you can to slow down the progression and living a healthy lifestyle can all aid in managing the pain that can come with this condition. If you believe you may be suffering from this condition, speak to an orthopedic specialist today.

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