WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition. Typically, it starts with the breakdown of the flexible joint tissue known as cartilage and can lead to stiff and immobile joints. Cartilage wears down with age and joint use.
If Osteoarthritis advances enough, more than the cartilage can change. Sometimes, new bone can form near the joint.
What does Osteoarthritis affect?
Osteoarthritis only affects the joints, and day-to-day can differ from mild pain to quite severe, disabling pain. Most commonly, Osteoarthritis affects the knees, hips, spine and hands.
Is Osteoarthritis affected by joint use?
Yes it is - typically, pain from Osteoarthritis is associated with use of the joint and will subside with rest. However, some people with advanced Osteoarthritis may experience persistent pain when resting, and even at night while sleeping.
How can I know if I have Osteoarthritis?
In addition to joint pain, Osteoarthritis can cause joint stiffness, as the joints cannot bend as easily, or with their full range of motion.
Who can get Osteoarthritis?
Many people can develop Osteoarthritis - men and women, older people and even children. Evidence suggests that women are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis - and there is also an age risk factor that means you are more likely to develop the condition as you get older.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis - about 1.6 million Australians are currently diagnosed. The condition can be mild and progression to the advanced stages of Osteoarthritis are rare, if managed properly. You can find out more about managing Osteoarthritis here.
What can I do if I think I have Osteoarthritis?
There are many ways to manage Osteoarthritis - exercise, considered food choices, pain management(and even things as simple as changing shoes). It is also important to visit a doctor or healthcare provider to understand if you do have Osteoarthritis, and what sort of management plan would work best for you.
This website is full of great tips and handy hints on what to do when managing Osteoarthritis, so feel free to have a look.
Remember, the most important things are to stay active, stay positive, eat well - manage your Osteoarthritis, instead of letting it manage you.