OSTEOARTHRITIS: Major cause of joint pain.

The disease usually starts gradually with joint pain which gets worse on movement or exercise especially in the afternoon or evening. However, as the condition deteriorates, the patient complains of joint pain even at rest.
Other symptoms include: reduction in range of movement across joint and gel phenomenon i.e joint pain on initiation of movement.
This is the most common type of joint disease. Risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with age and especially after the age of 30 years. 80-90% of people above the age of 65years have osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of an articular cartilage and confined to synovial joint. It can affect any moveable joint in the body.

RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING OSTEOARTHRITIS
1. Age: The older you grow, the higher the chance of developing osteoarthritis.
2. Previous trauma to the joint.
3. Obesity
4. Job requiring heavy labour and bending.
5. Positive family history
6. Disorder of the bone eg avascular necrosis
7. After the age of 55years, the chance of developing osteoarthritis is higher in women than men.

X-RAY FINDINGS IN OSTEOARTHRITIS

  1. Loss of joint space
  2. Osteophyte formations
  3. Sclerosis of subchondrial bone

TREATMENT
There is no specific treatment for osteoarthritis. However, conservative treatment includes the use of:

  1. Paracetamol
  2. NSAIDs
  3. Regular exercise
  4. Physiotherapy
  5. Lifestyle modification with weight loss
  6. Use of walking aid
    Surgical options include:
    Arthrodesis: This is also called joint fusion. The goal of this surgical procedure to hold a joint in a fixed position thereby dramatically reducing pain.
    Osteotomy
    Joint replacement

REFERENCES

  1. Bailey and Love’s Short Practice of Surgery
  2. Compendium of Clinical Medicine by A.O. Falase and O.O. Akinkugbe
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