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What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder that occurs as a result of gradual wear and tear in the joint. It is one of the most common types of arthritis affecting people above 60 years. Osteoarthritis affects articular cartilage that cushions the end of the bone for a smooth movement of joints.

However, as a result of constant strain in the joints, the cartilage gradually wears off causing pain, stiffness and discomfort around the joints.

While osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the condition most commonly affects the hands, knees, hips and spine. This makes it difficult for patients to walk or even get in or out of bed. In addition, prolonging osteoarthritis treatment can result in stiffness and pain which can make it very difficult for patients to perform everyday activities.

Moreover, long-term pain and disability due to osteoarthritis can also lead to depression and sleep deprivation. In case you are experiencing osteoarthritis symptoms, get in touch with us to consult with the best orthopedic doctors.

What are the different types of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can be classified into two types - primary osteoarthritis and secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is associated with wear and tear in the joints due to age. The condition can get severe with age in patients above 55 to 60 years. Secondary osteoarthritis often involves cartilage breakdown due to several reasons such as injury, obesity, inactivity, genetics, and inflammation.

What are the symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop gradually and can get worse if left untreated. Therefore, it is essential to distinguish the symptoms of osteoarthritis to get proper medical care. Osteoarthritis symptoms include the following:

  • Pain during the movement of joint
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness in the joint
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation
  • Bone Spurs
  • Swelling around the joints

When to See a Doctor?

Consult an orthopedic doctor if the joint pain becomes unbearable and it becomes difficult for you to carry out your daily activities. Make an appointment if the osteoarthritis symptoms do not improve over a period of time.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is usually associated with wear and tear that occurs with age. However, there are other factors that can contribute to the progressive loss of the articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is the protective layer that cushions the end of bones in the joints for smooth movement. As a result of constant wear and tear with age, any major joint injury, or repeated stress on the joint, the cartilage gradually deteriorates increasing the friction between the bones.

This causes inflammation which leads to pain and discomfort. Doctors also associate several lifestyle habits with the progression of osteoarthritis.

While the exact cause of osteoarthritis is still under research, several risk factors contribute to the development of the condition. These risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Gender (more common in females than males)
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • History of joint injury (secondary arthritis)
  • Low bone density
  • Muscle and joint weakness
  • Congenital bone deformities
  • Certain metabolic disorders (such as diabetes which increases the iron in the body).

How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

The pain from osteoarthritis develops gradually over the years. Therefore, it is hard to distinguish the symptoms of osteoarthritis from other joint conditions. Doctors often recommend diagnostic tests that can indicate inflammation in the joints. Osteoarthritis diagnosis includes physical examination and certain diagnostic tests to determine joint pain as a result of osteoarthritis. Some of the diagnostic tests for osteoarthritis involve:

  • Imaging tests include x-rays, and MRI to get 3D pictures of the affected joint.
  • Blood tests help rule out other conditions that can cause joint pain.
  • Joint fluid analysis is done to determine the cause of pain. The doctor uses a needle to draw fluid from an affected joint and checks it for inflammation.

What is the treatment for Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition which can get worse with time. Orthopedic doctors initially recommend medications and therapies for mild symptoms. However, in case of severe pain and discomfort, surgical procedures offer long-term health benefits.

Osteoarthritis cure usually involves surgical and non-surgical methods depending on the severity of the conditions, medical health of the patient, etc. Non-surgical methods include medications, exercises, therapies, lifestyle changes, dietary restrictions, etc.

However, non-surgical methods usually relieve patients from mild osteoarthritis symptoms and may not be effective in severe cases. Doctors often recommend surgical methods that can provide long-term relief, delay the progression of osteoarthritis and increase the quality of life.

  • Medications: Medications focus on managing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Doctors often recommend certain medicines like acetaminophen to help relieve mild to moderate pain. In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the form of analgesic creams, sprays, etc. can also help relieve pain. However, certain NSAIDs have side effects that can lead to bleeding problems, cardiovascular issues, kidney damage, etc.
  • Alternative Therapies: Patients with chronic joint pain are often physically inactive which generally causes stiffness in the muscles. Therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can keep your joints flexible and agile. TENS uses low-voltage electrical current for short-term relief from pain. Patients opt for physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joints to increase muscle movement and reduce stiffness. Moreover, occupational therapy helps patients with osteoarthritis discover new ways to perform everyday tasks.
  • Lifestyle modification: Lifestyle changes like dietary restrictions ensure weight management which may reduce stress on the joints due to being overweight. Effective weight management reduces the stress on the weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips which can prevent the condition from getting worse. In addition, undergoing movement therapies, heat and cold treatment, assistive devices, acupuncture, etc. reduce the pain and assist the patients with their daily activities with ease.
  • Surgical procedures: Surgical methods are effective for osteoarthritis treatment when the condition is severe and does not respond to medications or alternative treatment methods. Surgical procedures for osteoarthritis treatment are considered effective offering long-term health benefits. Surgical methods for osteoarthritis cure include the following:
    • Joint Replacement Surgery
    • Joint Realignment Surgery

Why Choose Rukmani Birla Hospital (RBH) for Osteoarthritis treatment?

Rukmani Birla Hospital (RBH) is a renowned multispeciality hospital with the latest medical equipment and world-class infrastructure to ensure comprehensive patient care. Our highly qualified doctors and experienced surgeons at RBH provide complete medical care and post-operative tips for a quick and smooth recovery. Contact us for complete orthopedics care if you are experiencing chronic pain or discomfort in the joints. Advantages of choosing RBH for osteoarthritis cure include:

  • Highly qualified and experienced orthopedics doctors.
  • State-of-the-art technology with cutting-edge medical instruments.
  • The transparent pricing structure for cost-effective treatment.
  • Patient-centric high-quality care for a high success rate.


Can I cure osteoarthritis without surgery?

No, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that results in the gradual deterioration of the articular cartilage. Non-surgical methods can only manage the pain and symptoms of the condition and do not reverse the process. Some patients who suffer from osteoarthritis may experience life-long pain and discomfort which can be reduced with the help of surgical and non-surgical methods.

How to prevent osteoarthritis?

Orthopedics doctors usually recommend the following measures to prevent osteoarthritis:

  • Regular exercise
  • Losing weight
  • Wearing suitable footwear
  • Avoiding major knee injuries
  • Using special devices to reduce the strain on the joints while performing everyday activities.

What are the different stages of osteoarthritis?

Different stages of osteoarthritis involve the following:

  • Stage I (Minor) Minor wear and tear in the joints with little pain in the affected area.
  • Stage II (Mild) Mild pain with noticeable bone spurs. Patients often feel stiff and may need a brace.
  • Stage III (Moderate) Cartilage begins to erode in the affected area causing inflammation in the joints. This causes discomfort while performing daily activities.
  • Stage IV (Severe) Extreme discomfort due to the deterioration of cartilage. Inflammation is severe and overgrowth of bone spurs causes severe pain.

What are the complications of untreated osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can cause severe pain in the joints which can become unbearable for some patients. In addition, untreated osteoarthritis can lead to the following complications:

  • Severe pain and stiffness
  • Bone death
  • Stress fractures
  • Permanent immobility
  • Decreased physical activity which can cause obesity
  • Frequent sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and depression