Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage – which covers the surface of bones – starts to deteriorate. Thinning cartilage roughens, meaning the joints don’t move as smoothly as they should.
Versus Arthritis explained that worn and damaged cartilage triggers the repair response in the body.
However, when the response process goes awry, changes to the joint structure can cause pain, swelling and difficulty in moving the joint.
Examples of joint changes include extra bones forming at the end of the joint; these growths are known as osteophytes.
Risk factors include obesity and joint injury caused by “very hard, repetitive activity or demanding jobs”.
There is a genetic component to the condition too, as “the genes we inherit can affect the likelihood of getting osteoarthritis at the hand, knee or hip”.
Some rare forms of the condition are linked to “mutations of single genes that affect a protein called collagen”.
This can result in osteoarthritis appearing in many joints at an earlier age.
A referral may be made for physiotherapy, occupational therapy or podiatry for foot issues.
Although there’s no cure for the condition, pain relief medications are available.
Moreover, strengthening exercises along aerobic exercise are encouraged to prohibit stiffness of the joints.
During painful flare-ups, the use of heat (such as a hot water bottle) can help ease pain.
Source: Daily Express