Osteoarthritis is a joint related disorder which affects the middle age and older population. While age is the most common cause for osteoarthritis, there are a host of risk factors that are associated with the development of the condition. While osteoarthritis may not be preventable, the severity of the symptoms may be minimized especially if certain preventive measures are followed.
The joints comprise of a rubbery tissue which acts as a cushion between the different bones so as to allow them to glide over each other. As age progresses, the cartilage becomes weak and wears off resulting the bones rubbing together leading to the development of bony spurs and making the joint weak.
Causes Of Osteo Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is an age related disorder; however there are certain risk factors that are associated with the development of the condition,
- Osteoarthritis is commonly observed to be running in families and might be linked with inheritance.
- Overweight and obesity can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis especially of the knees and ankles.
- Sports involving direct impact on the joints like football, soccer and basketball increase the risk of developing Osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries and fractures increase the risk of development of osteoarthritis in future.
- Medical conditions like hemophilia, avascular necrosis of the joints, gout and rheumatoid arthritis increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
The symptoms associated with osteoarthritis include,
- Pain and rigidity of the joint which is worse on excretion or strain.
- Osteoarthritis is also associated with swelling and inflammation of the joint involved. Often the joint is associated with cracking, grating and rubbing sounds, which may be produced due to excessive fluid accumulation.
- Morning stiffness is a unique feature of osteoarthritis, which is associated with rigidity of the joint in the morning for a few minutes. The symptoms improve after motion.
Changes in the joints may be observed through X rays which include reduced space between the joints and development of bony spurs.
How To Prevent Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is an age related disorder and can’t be completely prevented, however measures can help in controlling the deterioration of the condition and severity of the symptoms,
- Rest is very important to hasten healing. Avoid straining the joint and take adequate amount of rest to allow the joint to heal naturally. Regular simple and non-weight bearing exercise of the muscles around the joint can help strengthen the joint and alleviate the symptoms associated with the condition. E.g. exercises of the quadriceps can be beneficial in preventing symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee joint.
- Cold water compress of the joint results in vasoconstriction and helps reduce swelling and inflammation. After the swelling and inflammation subsides, hot water compress can help in hastening healing and alleviating pain.
- Homeopathic drugs like Bryonia, Rhus Tox and Arnica are considered to be useful in alleviate pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Maintain optimum body weight and ensure that your body is supplied with adequate amount of calcium and magnesium. Calcium is important for bone health while maintaining optimum body weight prevents excessive pressure on the joint and protects it from wear and tear.