Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in a joint becomes worn or thin. Cartilage is the shiny smooth connective tissue present on the joints on the ends of bones, protecting and aiding in smooth gliding movement of the joints. The deterioration of cartilage causes increased friction within the joint and results in arthritic pain and stiffness.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis or ‘wear-and-tear’ arthritis and is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world.
While it can occur in number of joints throughout the body, the most commonly affected areas are feet, hands, spine, knees and hips. Osteoarthritis of the Feet is the most common among them all, usually affecting the mid-foot, ankle and big toe.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Non-surgical arthritis treatments involve prescribing:
- Oral medicines such as non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Orthotic devices such as shoe inserts for cushioning and to improve mechanics.
- Bracing which is done to support the joints and reduce pain by restricting motion and providing support.
- Steroid (‘cortisone’) injections for reducing inflammation and pain.
- Therapy which involves exercising to strengthen muscles and enhance stability and flexibility.
Arthritis can progress, and after non-surgical treatments fail, surgery may be considered an option. The surgery aims to reduce pain, but often results in decreased joint mobility.
Are you suffering from osteoarthritis? What were the biggest challenges you witnessed when it was discovered? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with us.