Osteoarthritis is widespread chronic disease of joints when as a result of inflammation surface of cartilage wears off and decreases. In one word, osteoarthritis is an inflammation in bones that form joints. Osteoarthritis spreads slowly and causes pain of damaged joints as well as stiffness and tumefaction. Osteoarthritis may develop in any synovial joint, but most often it affects most loaded joints like hip, knees and wrists. In most cases, osteoarthritis affects people who are 40 to 50 years old, but also young people may suffer from this disease. Younger people suffer from osteoarthritis, in most cases, because of different traumas. After 80 years almost every people have signs of osteoarthritis, but these signs may appear without symptoms of osteoarthritis. This disease has ingravescent pace and periods of improvement.
Pathological process begins in the most loaded place of cartilage, cartilage becomes rugged and thin, and it starts to flaw. Bone of joint loses its smooth sliding surface, and sometimes defects appear in the bone substance. Around damaged cartilages and bones an inflammation develops, signs of arthritis appear, around damaged area bone overgrowths (spurs) of different forms and sizes begin to form, the joint swells and deforms. Snippets of bones and cartilages begin to accumulate in the gap of joint. In the course of time degeneration of joint starts, causing pain, bone fragility, and movement disorders. There can be two kinds of osteoarthritis – primary and secondary. In the case of primary osteoarthritis it is impossible to determine a casual agent. Secondary arthritis appears in cases of different diseases, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, diabetes, traumas, infections etc.
It is difficult to determine only one cause of osteoarthritis, as it is caused by multiple factors which can be dependent on genetics or lifestyle. Osteoarthritis is caused by metabolic, biomechanical, and inflammatory factors, which can be affected by age, gender, genetics, and other conditions. The main causes of osteoarthritis are heredity, age, obesity, traumas, inflammatory arthritis, congenital bone defects as well as gender.
Risk factors of osteoarthritis are age, obesity, traumas and muscular weakness, smoking, low levels of calcium and vitamin D, low mineral density of bones, osteopenia, osteoporosis, metabolic disorders, hormonal disorders, diabetes, mechanical damages of joints, overload, uniform movements, professional sports, regularly repeated movements, and motionless lifestyle.
The first symptoms of osteoarthritis are stiffness of joints in the morning or after the rest period, which disappears after movements. Then the crepitation appears during movements. The main symptom of osteoarthritis is joint pain. Pain starts gradually and slowly progresses over several years. Pain usually appears during exercise, but during the rest time it decreases or even disappears. The longer is resting time, the severer is pain, resuming movements. When the illness progresses, pain appears in the rest time as well. Joints and the surrounding tissues are painful when they are touched. In the course of time the amount of joints decreases, joints swell and deform because an inflammation of synovial sheath develops. Other widespread symptoms of osteoarthritis are tenderness or numbness in the joints, joint fixation, limitation of movement in the joint, cracking of joints, muscle weakness, local inflammation in the area of joints, warmth, and difficulties of walking.