The slow degeneration of the cartilage covering the ends of bone inside joints, due to wear and split over several years, causes the pain, swelling and stiffness of osteoarthritis.

The condition rarely appears before middle age and predominantly affects the weight bearing joints – the hips and knees. Around the age of the menopause, the terminal joints of the fingers reveal osteoarthritic change with the look of bony outgrowths on the sides of the joints – Heberden’s nodes. Any joint that’s injured could become osteoarthritic at a later date.

The greater the wear and tear in early life the greater the possibility of osteoarthritis (OA) placing in. OA is more often than not asymmetrical.

How Does It Develop?

OA develops as an effect of excessive wear and tear on the joints and it’s normally part of the natural ageing process. By way of example, in OA of the knee, where the thigh bone and shin bone meet, the cartilage keeping them from grinding together has worn away and pain is the outcome.
OA is common in weight bearing joints that have been subject to harm in youth or that were used widely in particular sports or stressed due to obesity.

Most individuals over the age of 60 have some level of OA and three times as several girls are affected as men. The areas most commonly affected are the big spinal joints of the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet. A thickening of the bone ends causes bony spurs to appear at the border of joints.

Just the same procedure happens at the borders of the neck (cervical) vertebrae, frequently causing a stiff neck which makes motion distressing. This state is called cervical spondylosis.

What Are The Symptoms?

  • As well as pain, OA also causes swelling, creaking and stiffness of the affected joints.
  • Weakness and shrinkage of surrounding muscles may happen if pain prevents the joint being used frequently.
  • Pressure from a bony spur on a nerve in the neck (cervical spondylosis) may cause pain in the shoulder, elbow and fingers.
  • When bony developments happen in the lower back (lumbar spondylosis), pressure on the sciatic- nerve will cause pain in the buttock and the back of the legs down to the sole of the foot, pain called sciatica.

What’s The Treatment?

  • Sadly, there’s absolutely no treatment although the symptoms can be alleviated by painkillers. Physiotherapy, heat treatment and exercise are helpful for pain relief and freedom’.
  • Corticosteroid shots can occasionally bring immediate, if temporary, relief but must be used sparingly.

Exercises For Individuals With Osteoarthritis

  1. Hold your arms straight down but across your body, then lift them upwards and outwards, uncrossing them as you go. With your arms in this location, clasp your hands behind your head.
  2. Shove your toes and feet down and then pull them upwards towards you. Transfer your toes and ankles round in a big circle.
  3. Lie down, rather on the floor, bend each leg in turn upward onto your torso towards the opposite shoulder.
  4. Rest your arms on a table or arm of a seat without supporting your hand. Bend your hand down towards the floor after which lift it upward. Next, transfer your hand to the left and then to the right. If you are doing this make sure your hand rests in the mid-location and is in line with your forearm and doesn’t fall downwards. and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  5. Bend your fingers and hold tightly, then extend and spread your fingers. Touch the point of each finger in turn with your thumb.

If sitting in a crowded seat becomes debilitating after 30 minutes or so, stand up and walk around or massage your knees. Don’t sit with your legs crossed – it isn’t great for the knees.

Swimming is a great means to strengthen muscles and maintain joint mobility. As the water supports your body, muscles can be exercised without stressing your joints. If you’ve got a heated pool nearby, do use it at least once per week as it raises muscle strength without placing undue stress on joints.