Everything you need to know about Osteoarthritis
June 20th, 2016 by LOC Team
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the UK, it is a condition that affects the joints and makes them feel stiff and causes pain. Almost any joint can be affected by the condition. However, osteoarthritis is most commonly found in the hips, knees and small joints in the hands.
Osteoarthritis is a tricky condition to diagnose because the pain and symptoms differ greatly from person to person. It can also affect different joints in different ways. For some, the pain and the symptoms can come and go but for others, the pain can be constant.
What can cause osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can occur if there is damage to the joints and the body cannot fully repair this damage. In some people, it is not fully clear why this damage has happened, however, your chances of developing the condition is influenced by a few things including weight and age.
A lot of people think that osteoarthritis is something that you will get as you grow older. However, with regular exercise and a diet to maintain a healthy weight, this is not always the case. Osteoarthritis does however affect more people over the age of 45 than under 45.
Managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
A lot of the mild symptoms of osteoarthritis can be managed fairly simply. Your doctor may give you an exercise plan involving regular but gentle exercise. This can help build up the muscles around the joint and allow the muscles to work harder for the joint. They may also recommend losing a bit of weight if you are overweight or perhaps wearing more suitable footwear.
If your symptoms are still causing you problems then the doctor in charge of your case may advise that you use a special device that is designed to help reduce the strain on the joints affected during daily tasks. They may also prescribe you painkilling medicine and give you a more structured exercise plan that will be supervised by a physiotherapist.
In a very small number of cases, when the treatments mentioned above haven’t worked, or if the damage to the joint is very bad, surgery might be carried out to strengthen, replace or repair the joint. This is only in very rare cases though.
Living with osteoarthritis
As you may know, osteoarthritis is a long-term condition so it is important that you get the correct support. It can be very difficult to cope with the issues that you may face such as the reduction in mobility. You may also need to find support and advice for any necessary financial support needed.
It is of course important that you also find support to help you look after your own wellbeing and health. This may include help with taking medication regularly and also helping you adopt as healthy of a lifestyle as possible.
You may also find it helpful to speak with others about the condition. There may be questions that you have that can only be answered by people who are already living with the condition. To find out about the help available in your area, speak with your local GP.
We hope that this article about osteoarthritis has helped you. Please take a look around our website to find out more about other common conditions.