Osteoarthritis, or also called “Degenerative Joint”, is the most common joint disease in general populations caused by the breakdown of cartilage located at the ends of the bones in a joint, resulting in an erosion of cartilage which leads to joint stiffness and pain. Several conditions contribute to the deterioration of cartilage including obesity, joint trauma, weakness of muscles surrounding the joint, sensory loss of nerves around the joint (neuropathic joint), inflammation of the joint’s surrounding tissues, and rare heredity.
Osteoarthritis can involve a number of joints with the majority in the weight-bearing joints or joints subjected to strenuous use such as knees, hips, spines at the back and neck, small joints of fingers, and big toe joints. It is rare in wrists, elbows or ankles except secondary to trauma, infection or excess use of such joints.
Osteoarthritis is more common at older ages and occurs in either men or women. Before age 45, men are more likely to have osteoarthritis than women, but it is more common in women after age 50. Although there are millions of people with osteoarthritis, but only a few of those will have symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is a treatable disease. Even though there is no complete cure, but the symptoms can be eased by the treatments. Correct diagnosis and consultation with a physician are essential for the successful treatment.