Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease and osteoarthrosis, is the most common form of arthritis. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in joints (i.e., intersections of two bones) and is often caused by “wear and tear.” Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows for easier movement within the joints. As osteoarthritis progresses, bone spurs (osteophytes) develop within the affected joint and the joint space narrows, increasing pain and decreasing mobility.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness and may result in loss of joint function. The disease, which can cause significant disability, is the reason for most knee and hip replacement surgeries.
There are 2 types of osteoarthritis—primary and secondary. Primary osteoarthritis is associated with aging, and secondary osteoarthritis is associated with an additional cause, such as injury, heredity or obesity.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Loss of joint function
- Develop between the ages of 40 and 60
- Affects the weight-bearing joints (e.g., knees, hips, feet, back)
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