Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a chronic condition which develops over time resulting in the erosion of cartilage. Associated with this, the underlying bone becomes thick, and outgrowths form causing joints to be deformed. Surrounding tissues often become contracted or stretched. Very often the true cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. Although it is more common with age, arthritis can occur at any age.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis include commonly pain and stiffness. Over a period of time joints often become deformed. The commonly affected joints are hips, knees, spine, and feet.
The treatment of osteoarthritis involves treating the symptoms of pain and stiffness. There are many things that can be done to relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness, as well as modifying lifestyles.
Drugs can be used to help relieve pain (analgesics), anti-inflammatory tablets can be used, as well as steroids which can be injected into the joint directly.
Surgical treatment of osteoarthritis includes arthroscopy, osteotomy and joint replacement.
Arthroscopy involves the use of a a camera to look into the affected joint (Key hole surgery) ;loose tissue is removed. Osteotomy involves realigning bones, so that weight is taken more evenly through the joint surface, this is a useful treatment for early arthritis. Joint replacement involves cutting away the diseased portions of the joint and replacing them with artificial materials. e.g. include hip replacement and knee replacement. The majority of joint replacements last over 15 years giving patients freedom from pain.
There is no cure for arthritis sadly, the symptoms of pain and swelling are in the majority of cases very well treated with non-operative measures.
Very often simply by taking pain killers and avoiding straining of the affected joints can lead to good symptom control.
When non- operative measures have failed, patients may be surgical candidates. The types of surgery used for the treatment of arthritis include Keyhole surgery (arthroscopy), osteotomy and joint replacement.
» Read more about Osteoarthritis of the Knee.
» Read more about Osteoarthritis of the Hip.