Osteoarthritis: All You Need To Know

Osteoarthritis by Perfect Health Magazine

An ankle injury destroys the ligaments that connect the bones of the leg to the skeleton of the foot. As a result, swelling and pain may occur. 

While some people have ankle discomfort as a result of fractures or sprains, others experience pain from a different source. Arthritis or an autoimmune condition could be the reason.

The ideal treatment depends on the possible causes; hence, being safe than sorry is always better. Therefore, consulting a physician is best.

To learn more about how arthritis could be causing ankle pain read our The 2022 Arthritis Guide – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Quick 30 Seconds Summary of Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the world. 
  • This disorder occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones breaks off over time.
  • Osteoarthritis can affect every joint in the body, including the hands, knees, hips, and spine.
  • Osteoarthritis is diagnosed using X-rays, MRIs, blood tests, joint fluid studies, and imaging scans.
  • Medicines, therapy, surgical procedures, and Ayurvedic treatment are all part of the RA treatment plan.

What Is Osteoarthritis? - An Introduction

Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear that causes a joint’s cartilage to stiffen and lose suppleness, making it more vulnerable to harm. 

Over time, the cartilage in the human body wears down naturally due to usage and ageing. This greatly diminishes its ability to act as a shock absorber. 

The tendons and ligaments stretch when cartilage deteriorates, creating intense pain. As the issue deepens, the bones may grind against each other. More than 500 million individuals worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis, which affects 7% of the global population.

It usually affects the poundage joints of the hips, knees, and spine. The fingers, thumb, neck, and big toe are also further affected by this condition.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoarthritis affects 9.6% of men and 18.0% of females over the age of 60 worldwide. 

You can learn more about Arthritis with our in-depth blog: The 2022 Arthritis Guide – Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Symptoms of osteoarthritis usually appear gradually and worsen with time. Osteoarthritis has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain – Joint pain
  • Stiffness – You will feel stiff when you first wake up or try to move after hours of inactivity 
  • When you apply gentle pressure to or near your joint, it may become tender.
  • Lack of flexibility and limited range of motion
  • The sensation of grating – When you use the joint, you may notice a grating sensation as well as popping or crackling sounds.
  • Spurs of bone – Extra bone, in the form of hard lumps, might grow around the afflicted joint
  • Swelling – Soft tissue inflammation around the joint could be the source of this

Osteoarthritis Causes

The causes of osteoarthritis include: 

  • Ageing – As you become older, your risk of developing osteoarthritis rises.
  • Gender – Women are more prone to developing this.
  • Obesity – Excess body weight causes osteoarthritis in a variety of ways, and the more you weigh, the higher your risk. The weight-bearing joints in your knee joints are stressed when you gather weight.Proteins produced by fat deposits can induce significant inflammation in and around joints.
  • Joint injuries – Such as those sustained while playing sports or as a result of an accident, can raise the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that appear to have healed many years ago can put you at risk for osteoarthritis.
  • Repetitive stress on the joint – If the profession or activity you participate in inputs repetitive stress on a joint, that joint may develop osteoarthritis over time.
  • Genetics – Some people are genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis.
  • Bone abnormalities – Some persons are born with faulty cartilage or deformed joints.
  • Diabetes and an overabundance of iron in the body are two examples of metabolic illnesses (hemochromatosis).

Risks & Complications Associated With Osteoarthritis

  • This Disease is a chronic illness that causes pain as it progresses. Joint pain and stiffness can make it difficult to carry out various tasks.
  • The pain and incapacity of osteoarthritis can lead to depression and sleep problems.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is diagnosed based on a combination of the following factors:

  • Your symptoms.
  • The pain’s location and pattern
  • Physical examination

Your doctor will examine the affected joint for discomfort, edema, redness, and flexibility during the physical exam. Moreover, your doctor may recommend the following imaging tests to obtain images of the afflicted joint:

  • X-rays – Although cartilage does not show up on X-ray images, a narrowing of the area between the bones in your joint indicates cartilage loss. 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – An MRI produces comprehensive images of bone and soft tissues, including cartilage, using radio waves and a strong magnetic field. 
  • Joint fluid analysis – During a joint fluid analysis, a needle may be used to remove fluid from an affected joint.

When To See A Doctor For Osteoarthritis?

As soon as you observe any of the symptoms described above, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Hence, rapid recognition can help you save a lot of time and get started on therapy pretty quickly.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

Patients frequently receive a combination of therapeutic communication, resting, physiotherapy, medication, and surgery as part of their treatment.

Medications

  • Acetaminophen
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Disclaimer: Always ask your doctor before taking any medicine. Do not self-treat your pain.

The duration of these medicines depends on the patient’s condition. Mostly they are given for a period of 2 – 4 weeks. Always consult your doctor before extending them as they may possess side effects which will become visible due to long term consumption.

Therapy

Physical therapy – A physical therapist can show you techniques to strengthen the muscles around your joints, improve flexibility, and relieve discomfort. Mild activity that you do in your leisure, such as swimming or walking, maybe just as beneficial. This therapy is required for a period of 4 to 6 months. The patient needs to visit 1-3 times per week.

Occupational therapy – An occupational therapist can assist you in figuring out how to perform ordinary tasks without adding to the discomfort in your joints. Also, if you have osteoarthritis in your hands, for example, a toothbrush with a large handle may make brushing your teeth simpler. This might take about 1-2 months. But for post operative patients this may be recommended for 2-4 months.

TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – It is a pain-relieving technique that employs a low-voltage electrical current. Additionally, some patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis find it helpful in the short term. This procedure takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. It is mostly recommended three/four times a day for 1 week.

Surgical Procedures

Joint replacement surgery – It involves your physician removing damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with plastic and metal components. Also, infections and blood clots are two surgical hazards. Artificial joints can wear out or become loose over time, necessitating replacement.This is a major surgery. It takes about 60 – 90 minutes. It would take 3-6 months to totally recover.

Realigning bones – An osteotomy may be beneficial if osteoarthritis has injured one side of your knee more than the other. Moreover, a surgeon performs a knee osteotomy by cutting through the bone above or below the knee and then removing or adding a wedge of bone. A knee osteotomy surgery is a major procedure. This takes up to 1 – 2 hours. It would take 3-6 months for the patient to fully recover

Other procedures

Corticosteroid injections – Corticosteroid injections into your joint may reduce discomfort for a few weeks. Your doctor numbs the region around your joint before injecting medication through a needle into the joint space. This is a temporary process. It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete the procedure.

Lubrication injections – Hyaluronic acid injections may help decrease discomfort by providing cushioning in your knee, but other evidence suggests that these injections are no better than a placebo. This is also a temporary solution. It takes about 10-15 minutes.

Ayurvedic treatment

For knee pain relief, Ayurveda, food and lifestyle practices offer a unique knee joint massage and external treatment. In this Ayurvedic procedure, the knee is washed with warm medicinal oil or herbal decoction. 

The major goal of Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis is to remove ama with Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments while also improving digestion and reducing Vata by relieving pain and inflammation.

A diet that pacifies or balances Vata is recommended according to Ayurveda. 

  • Tofu Lentils, mung beans, dal,
  • Grains like – oats, rice, and cream of wheat grains
  • Buttermilk 
  • Meat 
  • Vegetables (leafy green)
  • Anti-inflammatory spices for example – ginger, turmeric, and garlic

For OA, Ayurveda provides “secure and effective therapeutic choices.”

Herbs that reduce inflammation:

  • Boswellia
  • Turmeric
  • Ashwagandha
  • Ginger
  • Triphala
  • Guggulu
  • Shatavari 

Ayurvedic treatment might be able to offer lifestyle modifications that can help you feel better.

Conclusion

While joint degradation cannot be halted, the symptoms of osteoarthritis are usually manageable. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating well-balanced food, and receiving certain therapies can all help to slow disease progression and improve pain and joint function. Therefore, make an appointment with a doctor if you notice any indications or symptoms of osteoarthritis. They will also assist you with drugs and any other treatment procedures that may be required.