What is osteoarthritis and which disease’s symptom is knee pain?

What is osteoarthritis and which disease’s symptom is knee pain?

Arthritis is an inflammation of joints.

According to various epidemiological findings, the rate of osteoarthritis spread in the population is 10% on average and most cases of inflammatory joint diseases comprise osteoarthritis.

What is osteoarthritis?

It’s a chronic-degenerative, multi-factorial joint disease that is characterized by disbalance of anabolic and catabolic processes that lead to not reversible results, in particular, cartilage destruction (a disorder of normal anatomy structure), as well as structural alterations to the subchondral bone, joint capsule, synovial membrane, ligaments and muscles surrounding a joint.

Scientists thought for years that the pathology is the result of natural wear and tear of joints throughout a person's life, albeit nowadays this assumption is questioned in the medical field and medics talk about certain risk-factors contributing to the development of the disease.

Commonly, the first symptoms of pathology manifest in patients above the age of 40-45. Most frequently, it’s small joints in the hands and feet, knees, hip joints, a spinal column that are damaged. 

Rheumatologist of National Center of Surgery, Tamar Partsvania discusses the topic.

How to recognize the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Following symptoms are detected:

  • Damaged joint pain that patient might suffer from during movement or at the initial motion. Albeit, pain ceases being constant after a certain period;
  • Morning stiffness upon waking up and it lasts 10-15 minutes;
  • Restricted range of motion in the joints, maneuvering is painful and restricted, cannot move in a full range;
  • Crepitation – bone spurs in the joints, i.e., “osteophytes” that causes a feeling of “clicking”;
  • Swelling that is caused by periarticular, i.e., the soft tissue surrounding joints, inflammation

What causes this disease?

Unfortunately, the exact etiological factor for developing the pathology is unknown, albeit, the following contributing factors should be emphasized:

  1. Old age;
  2. Female gender;
  3. Excess weight;
  4. Trauma;
  5. Severe physical stress;
  6. Congenital skeletal structure defects;
  7. Family history (genetic factor);
  8. Congenital and acquired metabolic disorders.

What can you tell us about diagnostic methods?

Following is necessary for diagnosing: collect family history, review subjective and objective data, conduct instrumental studies including joint x-ray, which also helps us define treatment tactics. With its’ help, we can plan medication or surgical treatment methods according to particular clinical cases. Magnetic-resonance tomography of joints is essential as well. It helps us determine more detailed causes of joint pain and visualizes the condition of tendon-muscles and ligament in the joint. 

How do you treat?

There are two treatment methods: conservative and surgical. Both treatment methods aim to improve the mobility of damaged joints, prevent complications, obstruct the progression of a continuous process, alleviate pain, and improve quality of life.

What should patient with osteoarthritis keep in mind, i.e. what kind of lifestyle should s/he lead?

For diagnosed clinical cases, as well as for prevention of the disease, the following is recommended:

  • Healthy lifestyle;
  • Moderate physical stress;
  • Wellness exercises;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Swimming.

– Why do we have knee pains, what is the most common cause of knee pain?

Patients often see me for knee pains. Gonarthrosis, i.e., knee joint osteoarthritis is quite a common problem, thus it ranks high among types of osteoarthritis. A high rate of morbidity of the disease is not surprising since the knee joint is under severe physical stress combined with the above-mentioned causes.

Mentioned pathology is a progressive and degenerative process that is not reversible – the primary aim of the treatment is to increase a person's ability to work by improving joint functions and alleviating pain.

Wish you health!

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