Osteoarthritis is a normal result of aging. It is also caused by ‘wear and tear’ on a joint.
Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints, and allows bones to glide over one another. If the cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Bony spurs or extra bone may form around the joint. The ligaments and muscles around the joint become weaker and stiffer.
Often, the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown… it is mainly related to aging. But, the symptoms of osteoarthritis usually appear in middle age. Almost everyone has some symptoms by age 70. However, these symptoms may be minor. Before age 55, osteoarthritis occurs equally in men and women. After age 55, it is more common in women.
Additional factors that can lead to osteoarthritis
- Osteoarthritis tends to run in families.
- Being overweight increases the risk of osteoarthritis in the hip, knee, ankle, and foot joints because extra weight causes more wear and tear.
- Fractures or other joint injuries can lead to osteoarthritis later in life. This includes injuries to the cartilage and ligaments in your joints.
- Jobs that involve kneeling or squatting for more than an hour a day put you at the highest risk. Jobs that involve lifting, climbing stairs, or walking also put you at risk.
- Playing sports that involve direct impact on the joint (such as football), twisting (such as basketball or soccer), or throwing also increase the risk of arthritis.
Medical conditions that can lead to osteoarthritis
- Bleeding disorders that cause bleeding in the joint, such as hemophilia
- Disorders that block the blood supply near a joint and lead to avascular necrosis
- Other types of arthritis, such as chronic gout, pseudogout, or rheumatoid arthritis
Get Relief from Osteoarthritis
Explore the many treatments for osteoarthritis, including the Knee Arthritis Program (KNAP) at ICPR. We’ll help you limit your pain without limiting your activities. No surgery is required! There’s nothing like your natural knee.