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 Arthritis  Holistic-online.com

Osteoarthritis

Symptoms

The onset of osteoarthritis can be very subtle. Joint stiffness is often the first symptom. As the disease progresses, pain is felt on motion of the involved joint. The pain is made worse by prolonged activity and relieved by rest. There are usually no signs of inflammation.

The specific clinical picture varies with the joint involved. Disease of the hands leads to pain and limitation of use. Knee involvement produces pain, swelling and instability. Osteoarthritis of the hip causes local pain and a limp. Spinal osteoarthritis is very common and may result in compression of nerves and blood vessels, causing pain and vascular insufficiency.

Primary symptoms of osteoarthritis

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Intermittent pain with motion of affected joints

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Stiffness and limitation of movement, with audible cracking in the joints

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Swelling and deformity of the joint

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Pattern of gradual onset

Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint in the body. However, the most common sites are the fingers (especially the two joints closest to the fingertips), the knees, hips, neck, and lower spine.

Types of osteoarthritis

There are two types of osteoarthritis:

  1.  Primary-results from normal wear and tear

  2. Secondary-results from an injury to a joint; from disease; or chronic trauma, such as obesity, postural problems, or occupational overuse

In primary osteoarthritis, the degenerative wear-and-tear process occurs after the fifth and sixth decades, with no predisposing abnormality apparent. The cumulative effects of decades of use leads to the degenerative changes by stressing the integrity of the collagen matrix of the cartilage. Damage to the cartilage results in the release of enzymes that destroy collagen components. With aging, there is a decreased ability to restore and synthesize normal collagen structures.

Secondary osteoarthritis is associated with some predisposing factor responsible for the degenerative changes. Various predisposing factors in secondary osteoarthritis include congenital abnormalities in joint structure or function (e.g. excessive joint mobility and abnormally shaped joint surfaces), trauma (obesity, fractures along joint surfaces, surgery, etc.), crystal deposition, presence of abnormal cartilage, and previous inflammatory disease of joint {rheumatoid arthritis, gout, septic arthritis, etc.).

Next Topic: Causes of Osteoarthritis

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