Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease worldwide and is a major cause of long-lasting disability in older people.1-3
Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage within a joint breaks down or gets damaged. Freely moveable joints like the knee and hands are called synovial joints. The ends of bones within synovial joints are covered in cartilage, a smooth substance which functions as a shock absorber. The space between the bones is filled with synovial fluid, which acts as kind of joint lubricant. In Osteoarthritis the cartilage breaks down, leading to inflammation and the release of damaging biological substances into the synovial fluid.4,5
Osteoarthritis usually develops slowly and worsens over time, leading to symptoms such as joint pain, swelling and stiffness.6
1. Moskowitz RW. The burden of osteoarthritis: clinical and quality-of-life issues. Am J Manag Care. 2009;15:S223-9.
2. Arden N. Osteoarthritis: Epidemiology. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 2006;20:3-25.
3. Goldring SR and MB Goldring. Clinical aspects, pathology and pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2006;4:376-378.
4. Nguyen L. Review of Prospects of Biological Fluid Biomarkers in Osteoarthritis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017; 18, 601.
5. Tamer T. Hyaluronan and synovial joint:
function, distribution and healingInterdiscip Toxicol. 2013; Vol. 6(3): 111–125.
6.Arthritis health. What is Osteoarthritis?
Last accessed 18/08/17.
In an osteoarthritic knee, the break down of the joint cartilage breaks causes the bones of the knee to rub together and results in one of the primary symptoms of knee Osteoarthritis: pain. This knee pain may follow a pattern, for example, it may be low level pain with intermittent intense flare-ups; pain may be associated with certain activities, such as climbing the stairs; and pain and stiffness may be worse after prolonged inactivity or rest, such as getting out of bed in the morning.1
1.Arthritis health. What is knee Osteoarthritis?
Last accessed 23/06/17.
Aching, stiff fingers and wrists may be a sign of hand Osteoarthritis. Any joint in the hand can develop Osteoarthritis and most people over 55 have signs of hand osteoarthritis that can be seen on X-rays, even if they do not experience symptoms.1
Restricted movement, swelling, and pain in the hip, groin, leg and back are classic symptoms of hip Osteoarthritis. As a weight-bearing joint the hip is especially prone to wear and tear is the third most susceptible site to develop osteoarthritis, after the hand and knee.2
NECK AND BACK
Back pain is very common in general but when pain and stiffness build slowly over time and are long-lasting, spine Osteoarthritis may be the cause. In spine Osteoarthritis, cartilage in the joints linking together the spine’s vertebrae break down and abnormal bony growths develop on the vertebrae causing pain and restricting movement.3
Osteoarthritis of the foot generally affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A big toe that has become stiff and bent is a possible sign of Osteoarthritis. A bent toe can lead to painful bunions, which are bony lumps at the base of the big toe. Ankle Osteoarthritis can also occur and may cause the heel to move to an unusual angle, however it is a less common site for Osteoarthritis.4
1.Arthritis health. When hand pain is osteoarthritis.
https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/osteoarthritis/when-hand-pain-osteoarthritis. Last accessed 23/06/17.
2. Arthritis health. What is hip osteoarthritis?
https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/osteoarthritis/what-hip-osteoarthritis. Last accessed 23/06/17.
3. Arthritis health. What Is Spinal Osteoarthritis (Facet Joint Arthritis)? https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/osteoarthritis/what-spinal- osteoarthritis-facet-joint-arthritis. Last accessed 23/06/17.
4. Arthritis research UK. Osteoarthritis of the toe. http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoarthritis/which-joints-are-affected/big-toes.aspx. Last accessed 23/06/17.
There are a large range of Osteoarthritis symptoms with the most common being:1
A joint affected by Osteoarthritis may be painful and inflamed. With little or no cartilage, bones rub directly against each other when the joint moves. Pain may be worse in the morning and feel better with activity.1
Stiffness is commonly experienced first thing in the morning or after a long period of inactivity such as a car ride. Joints may also feel like they are grating or creaking as the bones rub against each other.1
Osteoarthritis pain, swelling or stiffness may make it difficult to move and bend joints, making it impossible to perform ordinary tasks at work or at home. When the lower body joints are affected, activities such as walking, climbing stairs and lifting objects may become challenging. When finger and hand joints are affected, Osteoarthritis can make it hard to grasp and hold objects, such as a pen.2
Osteoarthritis symptoms are not necessarily linked to the degree of joint damage; some joints may be severely deteriorated but with no symptoms.1 If you are experiencing symptoms that bother you or stop you carrying out normal daily activities, talk to your doctor.
1 .Arthritis health. Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs.
https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/osteoarthritis/osteoarthritis-symptoms-and-signs. Last accessed 23/06/17.
2. Arthritis Foundation. Osteoarthritis symptoms. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/osteoarthritis/symptoms.php. Last accessed 23/06/17.
WHAT I NEED TO REMEMBER
... disease worldwide and is a major cause of long-lasting disability in older people1-3
... within a joint breaks down or gets damaged4,5
... and worsens over time, leading to symptoms such as joint pain, swelling and stiffness6