Osteoarthritis, affects millions of individuals around the world. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.

Although osteoarthritis can affect any joint, it is most typically seen in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

For some people, the symptoms can be mild and may come and go. Other persons may have more persistent and severe issues that make it difficult to carry out daily tasks.

Typical symptoms include
pain, stiffness, swelling, grating sensations and loss of flexibility in joints.

What are the causes of osteoarthritis?

Although the actual cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, some factors are likely to raise the risk, including:

Older age
joint injury
family history

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a long-term condition and cannot be cured, but it doesn’t necessarily always get worse over time. In fact, it can sometimes gradually improve.

There are a variety of therapies available to help alleviate the symptoms.

For instance, mild symptoms can sometimes be managed with simple measures including:

Regular exercise, weight loss in overweight patients,
wearing suitable footwear
And using special devices to reduce the strain on joints during your everyday activities (knee brace)

Moderate cases may require additional treatments such as painkillers and a structured exercise plan with a physiotherapist.

In a small number of cases, where these treatments haven’t helped or the damage to the joints is particularly severe, surgery may be done to repair, strengthen or replace a damaged joint.

It’s not possible to prevent osteoarthritis altogether.

However, by avoiding injury and leading a healthy lifestyle, one may be able to reduce the risk of having the disease. Regular exercise, good posture and weight loss can go a long way in preventing osteoarthritis.

Stay healthy and stay safe.
Dr Aboderin.
Southern Shore Hospitals.

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