Osteoarthritis is a rheumatic condition that occurs when joint cartilage, a tissue that protects the limbs of the bones, wears away. When two bone ends come together, they form the joint, which allows us movement and, therefore, functional autonomy. This cartilage is covered by a fluid called synovium, which nourishes and hydrates it to carry out its functions correctly.
When the joint tissue is injured, it loses these properties and causes pain, stiffness, and difficulties in movement. It is the most common rheumatic disease; it usually occurs in older adults. In this FastlyHealarticle, you will find the types of Osteoarthritis, the symptoms it produces, and the treatment to be adopted if it appears.
Table of Contents
Types of Osteoarthritis
There are several classifications for Osteoarthritis, but the most widely used is divided according to the causes that produce the disease. In this way, we find the following category:
- Primary Osteoarthritis: also known as idiopathic, appears without a known underlying cause or predisposes the patient to suffer from the pathology; it is the most common form of Osteoarthritis. Despite not finding a direct cause, some influencing risk factors such as age, genetics, certain work activities, obesity, estrogens, or gender. Generally, it develops on the feet, hands, knees, hips, or spine.
- Secondary Osteoarthritis: in this case, a direct cause is recognized that affects the integrity of the cartilage. Often they are congenital joint diseases, acute or chronic trauma, metabolic or endocrine disorders such as diabetes, neurological or vascular diseases, or the significant wear and tear of a joint. This typology affects a smaller number of patients.
When three or more joints participate in the pathology, it is called generalized primary Osteoarthritis. It mainly occurs in the spine, knees, hips, base of the thumb, tips of the fingers, and the big toe.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
The symptoms of Osteoarthritis usually derive from the causes and, therefore, depend on the type of disease that affects the patient. However, there are some common symptoms in practically all cases:
- Pain: pain appears when the joint in question is exerted, moving, or loading and worsens as the day goes by. With the progress of the disease, the pain also appears at rest and frequently with night rest.
- Cracking: after a while of rest, the joint may be stiff and lack lubrication due to friction between the extremities of the bones so that it tends to creak.
- Deformation: the growth of the ends of the bones can cause a widening of the joint, enlarging it, causing deformity in the knuckles of the fingers of the hands and arching the legs outwards or inwards.
- Swelling and edema: In some patients, inflammation, and irritation of the synovium may occur, causing fluid to accumulate around damaged joints. This influences the level of pain of the patient.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
At present, there is no cure for Osteoarthritis; for this reason, the treatment is aimed at relieving joint pain and maintaining the functional capacity of the patient. Treatment is therefore based on three tools:
- Physical measures are about performing a series of procedures to improve symptoms, combat obesity, and maintain skills. Various physical tasks are recommended alternated with periods of rest that promote joint mobility and enhance muscle strength. These exercises will, of course, depend on the affected joint.
- Medication: NSAIDs help fight joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Mainly ibuprofen or seemstamol can be used, but always according to medical indications. Its advantages are that they do not produce tolerance or dependence; at specific moments of more significant pain, the doctor can prescribe other support analgesics such as tramadol or codeine.
- Surgery: in advanced patients, surgery may be required to reduce pain and allow part of the joint’s functionality to be restored. It is also recommended to correct deformities caused by the disease.
As it is a chronic pathology, a medical follow-up is essential to help the patient suffer as little as possible.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Osteoarthritis: types, symptoms, and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints and Muscles .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.