Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when cartilage, the flexible connective tissue found on the ends of bones, wears away over time. Osteoarthritis can happen at any joint in the body; however, the most commonly affected joints are those in the hands, hips, knees and the spine.
While the exact cause of osteoarthritis is unknown, there are several risk factors associated with the disease:
The symptoms of osteoarthritis typically begin as a mild annoyance and then progressively worsen over time. Symptoms may include:
There is no specific test to diagnose osteoarthritis. Physicians typically use a combination of methods to diagnose the condition, including:
There is no cure for osteoarthritis. Treatment is centered around managing pain and improving overall function of the affected joint(s). Ideally, patients receive a combination of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatment.
Pharmacologic options include:
Non-pharmacologic interventions include: