What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is commonly used to describe the pain, swelling, stiffness and/or restricted movement of an affected joint. It most commonly occurs in the knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe. It’s sometimes called ‘degenerative joint disease’ or ‘wear and tear arthritis’.

DLDr David Love’s Help Centre

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis – The term Arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat and pain.

The cartilage is a padding that absorbs stress. Usually the pain early on is due to inflammation. In the later stages, when the cartilage is worn away, most of the pain comes from the mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing on to each other.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It most often occurs in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint called cartilage. In a person with osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint.

Definition – Arthritis Foundation.

How can you manage Osteoarthritis?

There are several treatments and lifestyle modifications that can help you ease the pain and symptoms of Osteoarthritis including:

Medications – Pain-relieving medications such as NSAIDs, COX-2 inhibitors and opioids may be prescribed. Topical medications such as ointments can be applied over the skin where there is pain. If the pain is very severe, corticosteroid injection can be given directly into the affected joint to ease the pain.

Other Treatments – Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to keep joints flexible and improve muscle strength. Heat/cold therapy which involves applying heat or cold packs to the joints provides temporary pain relief. Lifestyle modifications can be done to control weight and avoid extra stress on the weight-bearing joints.

Surgery – Joint replacement surgery is considered as an option when the pain is so severe that it affects your ability to carry out normal activities.

Discussing any surgical option can be stressful. So if you have any any questions please do not hesitate to email me.
I will get back to you as soon as possible – Dr. David Love.


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