Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it affects over 20 million Americans. While osteoarthritis most often affects older adults, younger people can also be diagnosed after sustaining a serious injury that affects joint health.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the deterioration of the cartilage present between the bones in a joint. When the cartilage tears, deteriorates, or wears down, the bones no longer have a buffer between them that is responsible for cushioning them when they touch each other. As a result, the bones rub against each other, which causes inflammation and damage in the joint.
Osteoarthritis symptoms include pain, numbness, stiffness, tingling, and swelling in the affected joint. Inhibited joint function and limited range of motion are also symptoms of osteoarthritis. The joints that most commonly succumb to osteoarthritis are ones in the hands, hips, knees, neck, and back.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse with time. Treatments for osteoarthritis focus on reducing symptoms and strengthening muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the joint to reduce pressure on it. In cases where there is significant damage to a joint because of osteoarthritis, joint replacement surgery many be recommended.
There are many causes of osteoarthritis, both modifiable and non-modifiable. Genetics, gender, and age are examples of non-modifiable causes, which means they are not in your control. If you have family members who had osteoarthritis, it may increase your risk of developing it, as well. In this case, you should be proactive and see a doctor frequently to assess the health of your joints.
People who are obese or significantly overweight have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in one or more of their joints. The extra weight puts excessive pressure on the joints – particularly the joints in the lower back and lower extremities. After extended pressure, these joints can succumb to osteoarthritis, as the cartilage between the joints wears down, and the bones begin to rub against each other.
Joint Wear and Tear Due to Overuse
Joint wear and tear injuries refer to damage done due to activities, movements, or functions that wear down a joint over time. For example, if you knit or type for several hours a day, the joints in your fingers could sustain wear and tear damage that can eventually lead to osteoarthritis development.
If you live an active lifestyle or play sports often, sports injuries can cause permanent damage to joint cartilage, which can lead to osteoarthritis in the future. Similarly, if you suffer an vehicular accident or a fall and your joint is damaged, you run the risk of developing osteoarthritis in that particular joint in the future – especially if the injury doesn’t heal well or the cartilage is significantly damaged.
Osteoarthritis Diagnosis and Treatment in San Antonio, Texas
If you suspect you may have osteoarthritis, contact the experts at Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in place. The sooner you get a diagnosis and begin treatment for osteoarthritis, the more effective your treatment will be.
Our goal is to provide comprehensive care, so you can continue to live a normal life, despite any orthopedic condition or injury you may have. Call us for a consultation at (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment.