Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease among diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
According to the World Health Organization, osteoarthritis affects more than 4% of the world's population, and in 10% of cases it is the cause of disability, causing a deterioration in the quality of life of patients.
Currently, osteoarthritis is considered as a disease in which there is a violation of the processes of restoration and destruction of tissue, primarily in the cartilage, in the bone and in the tissues surrounding the joint: the joint capsule, synovial membrane, ligaments, muscles.
The following joints are most often affected:
- hip joints,
- knee pads,
- intervertebral discs,
- small joints of the hands and feet.
Early signs of osteoarthritis are:
Stiffness and pain in one or more joints. The stiffness is more often pronounced in the morning or when you get up after a long sitting.
Swelling of one or more joints.
A feeling of crunching or creaking in the joints.
In people with osteoarthritis, joint pain can lead to limited movement; soreness can occur after walking or physical exertion. But the joints can also hurt at rest.
A joint is the place where two bones join. In a healthy joint, the ends of the bones do not touch. This is necessary to avoid friction between them during movements. The end of the bones is covered with a thin layer of dense cartilage with a smooth surface. It protects the bone by evenly distributing the pressure that acts on the joint when walking. Also, the structure of the cartilage allows the ends of the bone to move freely.
Joint in osteoarthritis
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage layer is destroyed and later disappears completely. At the same time, the bone that was under the cartilage thickens, and small bone outgrowths begin to form. The loss of cartilage means that the rough surfaces of the ends of the bones begin to rub against each other, so the movements become less free. This leads to inflammation: it causes swelling of the joints, which can be very painful. The muscles surrounding the joint may become weaker, which reduces overall muscle strength and the ability to maintain balance.
Most often, osteoarthritis affects people over 45 years of age, but it can also develop at a young age after a joint injury or in the presence of joint deformity.
The risk of osteoarthritis may increase for a number of reasons:
- Serious injury or joint surgery can increase the risk of subsequent osteoarthritis.
- Excessive stress on the joints, for example, as a result of repetitive movements during sports.
- Lack of movement in the joints also increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis, as the muscles supporting the joint become weak and lose elasticity.
- Heredity can also play a role, so if your parents have osteoarthritis, then you may have an increased risk of developing the disease early.
- Overweight and obesity increase the risk of osteoarthritis and worsen its course.
Treatment of osteoarthritis is a complex effect on the disease, which includes the use of non-drug methods:
Wear comfortable shoes with shock-absorbing soft soles. High-heeled shoes can cause overloading of the hip and knee joints.
Weight loss can reduce stress on the joints.
Be active and regularly give yourself physical activity, such as walking or swimming.
Medical methods, and if necessary – surgical intervention.
Although osteoarthritis is an incurable disease, treatment measures selected individually for each patient can reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint movement and slow the progression of the disease.
Remember that with the wrong treatment, joint pain can become chronic, so it is important to consult your doctor and choose the drug that is right for you.
Do not forget to take the drug in accordance with the doctor's prescription.
Be sure to consult your doctor!