Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritic condition, affecting over 20 million Americans. Most prevalent among older adults, osteoarthritis leads to the decay and loss of cartilage, the tissue within joints that cushions the movement of bones against each other. The loss of cushioning leads to pain, inflammation and restricted movement.

The major factor in osteoarthritis appears to be related to the process of aging. Over time, the fluid content in joints begins to diminish. That, among other factors, leads to the breakdown of cartilage, particularly in weight-bearing joints and the hands. Although aging seems to be the overriding factor, it is not an inevitable result of growing older.

Common Treatments:

Treatment strategy centers mostly on improving joint movement while reducing pain and inflammation. For the latter, physicians typically prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen or aspirin, corticosteroids, or injected glucocorticoids.

Variations of heat or cold therapy may also prove effective in relieving pain.Physicians also prescribe methods like weight control or joint protection to reduce stress on an affected joint. In some cases, they may recommend surgery to lessen chronic pain.

As to improving joint movement, physicians encourage patients to subscribe to an exercise regimen. A consistent, well-planned program can help build strength and promote flexibility in the affected joints.
      Other Conditions
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Infectious arthritis
Lyme Disease
Polymyalgia rheumatica
Psoriatic Arthritis
Reactive Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sjögren's Syndrome