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Osteoarthritis Info Sheet

  • Osteoarthritis is a condition affecting the joints where due to loss of cartilage (cushion over end of bones) and structural bony changes, the movement of the joint is not smooth and painful.
  • Osteoarthritis usually affects people above the age of 45 years. It may develop in younger people especially if they have had a previous joint injury or have a genetic susceptibility (family history of Nodal Osteoarthritis).
  • Patients with osteoarthritis may present with either pain, stiffness or swelling of the affected joint or joints. The symptoms may be worse after a period of rest or after activity like climbing stairs or walking.
  • Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis may include being overweight, positive family history, previous joint injury (due to fracture or ligament tears) or excessive use of a particular joint (eg knees in kneeling, squatting etc)
  • You should consult a Rheumatologist if your joint pains are persistent and are affecting your activities of daily living.
  • Osteoarthritis may affect multiple joints simultaneously.
  • Your Rheumatologist will ask you questions regarding your joint pains, examine you and may order investigations including blood tests and x-rays to arrive at a diagnosis.
  • Your Rheumatologist will discuss the best treatment options available and expected outcomes for your osteoarthritis. Treatment options may include anlagesics, glucosamine, fish oil capsules, joint injections, exercise, joint protective gears, surgery and others.
  • An exercise and weight loss program is an integral part of treatment options in patients with osteoarthritis.
  • Learning strategies to cope with your pain, balancing your activities and rest periods and eating a healthy balanced diet are also essential. Feel free to discuss your difficulties with your Rheumatologist and seek help when needed.
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