Osteoarthritis

(Degenerative Joint Disease; Arthritis, Osteo-)

Definition

Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative joint disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the joint lining. People with osteoarthritis usually have joint pain and limited movement of the affected joint.
Joints Affected by Osteoarthritis
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Causes

Healthy cartilage is a cushion between the bones in a joint. With osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears away over a long period of time, causing bones to rub together. The exact cause is unclear, but it may be a combination of genetics and environment.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of osteoarthritis include:
  • Increasing age
  • Excess body weight—risk of osteoporosis increases with increasing body weight
  • Family history of osteoarthritis
  • Certain endocrine, metabolic, or neuropathic disorders, avascular necrosis
  • Having an injury or surgery to the joint surface, especially the cartilage
  • Having an occupation or doing physical activities that put stress on joints

Symptoms

Osteoarthritis usually affects the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. Common symptoms include:
  • Mild-to-severe pain in a joint, especially after overuse or long periods of inactivity, such as sitting for a long time
  • Creaking or grating sound in the joint
  • Swelling, stiffness, limited movement of the joint, especially in the morning
  • Deformity of the joint

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Tests may include:
  • X-ray to evaluate bones and joints
  • CT scan to look at the extent of the arthritis
  • Arthrocentesis to rule out other causes of arthritis
  • Blood tests to rule out other causes of arthritis

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