What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that affects joints, causing inflammation, stiffness and pain.
Author: Jonathan Meddings
First answered: 26 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.5/5 Votes: 301
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Although there can be no symptoms, osteoarthritis typically comprises joint stiffness, pain and muscle weakness.
Sometimes the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. Other times, osteoarthritis is a result of other problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or injury.
The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age and with family history of the disease.
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed by physical examination and the use of X-rays, although other tests may be needed, such as ultrasound and MRI.
There is a range of treatment options for osteoarthritis. Your doctor will help you decide what treatment is right for you. Pain-relief medications, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, exercise and/or surgery can be used to treat osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but treatment can manage symptoms and slow its progression.
Osteoarthritis cannot be prevented, but treatment can help stop it from getting worse. You can reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis by maintaining a healthy weight and performing regular, low-impact exercises.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder, so over time it tends to worsen. However, treatment, especially when started early on, can slow the progression of osteoarthritis.