Osteoarthritis- A Degenerative Disorder

Osteoarthritis(OA) is a degenerative joint disease primarily affecting the articular cartilage. Repeated weight bearing on such cartilage leads to its fibrillation eventually causing eburnation and osteophyte formation in the underlying bones. Two types of OA are recognized-primary and secondary. 

  • PRIMARY OA: This occurs in old age, mainly in the weight bearing joint due to wear and tear. 
  • SECONDARY OA: It occurs secondary to an underlying joint disease which causes wear and tear later on. 

The disease occurs commonly in elderly people, mostly in the major joints of the lower limb. Pain is the earliest symptom. It occurs intermittently initially but worsens with time. Crepitus, stiffness, deformity, instability and locking of joint are other symptoms. Diagnosis of OA is mainly radiological with other pathological tests like calcium,vitamin D, blood glucose, uric acid etc to detect the underlying cause. 

Treatment of the condition is mainly medical management and rehabilitation, in the form of weight reduction, modification of daily activities and exercises to strengthen the muscles controlling the joint thus helping in providing stability. In selected cases, surgery is required to provide relief, example: joint arthroplasty.

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