Osteoarthritis is classified as the “wear and tear” arthritis. It is also called a degenerative arthritis and is often due to the overuse of joints. It can be the consequence of demanding sports, being overweight, or old age. If you were an athlete or dancer in high school or college, you may be wondering why your knee or hip aches when you climb out of bed in the morning. Ask your doctor about osteoarthritis. It can strike earlier in life with athletes or those who suffered an injury in young adulthood. Osteoarthritis is most common in joints that bear weight – such as the spine, feet, knees, and hips. Symptoms start to appear gradually over a few months or in some extreme cases, even years.
Aside from the pain in the affected joint, you usually do not feel sick, and there is no unusual fatigue or tiredness as there is with some other types of arthritis. Cartilage, the slippery material that covers the ends of bones and serves as the body’s shock absorber, can get damaged and it starts to wear away, or it doesn’t work as well as it used to. For example, the extra stress on knees from being overweight can cause damage to knee cartilage. That, in turn, causes the cartilage to wear out faster than normal. As the cartilage becomes worn, the cushioning effect of the joint is lost. The result is pain when the joint is moved. Along with the pain, sometimes you may hear a grating sound when the roughened cartilage on the surface of the bones rubs together. Painful spurs or bumps may appear on the end of the bones, especially on the fingers and feet. While not a major symptom of osteoarthritis, inflammation may occur in the joint lining as a response to the breakdown of cartilage. A common misconception is that people think there is only one type of arthritis and that all symptoms can be treated the same way. Since each type of arthritis is different, each type calls for a different approach to treatment. That means an accurate diagnosis is crucial for anyone who has arthritis. With the proper diagnosis, you’ll know what causes the pain, which then leads to the proper type of pain management. For more information about different types of arthritis and its different types of pain management visit our website at www.freeofpain.org.