Be Aware, Scroll & Know OA Better

  • What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?

    Do you know what osteoarthritis(OA) is?

    This medical term is derived from:

    Osteo = Bone; Arthritis = Inflammation in the Joint

    It is one of the most commonly diagnosed arthritis. It can be called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. Hands, hips and knees are usually affected. It is a myth that Arthritis is an old age problem. It is not a normal ageing process. In fact, arthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder involving cartilage damage.

    The risk of getting this disorder is increased in older age groups, but don’t think you are not at risk. You will be shocked to know that Arthritis has been diagnosed in the younger generation as well.


    One in four adults will develop symptoms of hip OA by age 85

    One in two adults will develop symptoms of knee OA during their lives

    One in 12 people 60 or older have been diagnosed with OA

    More than 80 percent of people over age 55 show indications of OA on an X-ray

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  • How does it happen?

    Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage (i.e. a protective Cushion at ends of bones) breaks down over a period of time. When the cushioning is damaged, there is no protection from friction. Even slight movement of the joint will lead to rubbing of the ends of bones together. The underlying bone begins to change its form. Certain chemical called cytokines get released. They cause inflammation, pain, stiffness and swelling. These develop slowly and worsen over time. Functioning of the joint reduces along with disability. The effects are so intense that some patients cannot even perform their day to day tasks.

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  • Symptom Details

    • Affected joints might hurt during or after movement.
    • Joint stiffness maybe most noticeable in the morning or when inactive.
    • Applying light pressure causes the joint to feel tender.
    • Loss of flexibility: Unable to move your joint through its full range of motion.
    • Grating sensation: You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint, and you might hear popping or crackling.
    • Bone spurs: Extra bits of bone, feeling like hard lumps, form around the affected joint.
    • Soft tissue inflammation around the joint causes local inflammation.


  • Risk factors

    Factors that increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:

    Old age:As the age increases the risk of having OA increases. It is commonly observed in the old age population.Risk increases with older age. Old age females are at higher risk compared to males

    Weight: Joints like hips and knees experience stress due to increased weight, so if you are overweight you are at higher risk of developing OA. Fat tissue have the tendency to produce proteins which may lead to inflammation in and around your joints

    Joint injuries: You can develop injuries from various sources like while playing sports or from an accident etc. These injuries might increase the risk of osteoarthritis.The injuries occurred few years ago that seems to have healed can also increase your risk of osteoarthritis

    Repeated stress on the joint: The joint that experiences stress repetitively and regularly is at higher risk of developing OA

    Genetics: Sometimes it is hereditary. Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis

    Bone deformities: Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage

    Certain metabolic diseases: People suffering from metabolic disorders like diabetes and hemochromatosis are at greater risk


    OA gradually worsens with time, leading to chronic pain. There is difficulty in performing daily tasks due to severe stiffness and pain in the joint. Pain and disabilities develop depression and disturbance in sleep.

  • How is OA Diagnosed?

    The Orthopaedical physician or Rheumatologist diagnose OA based on the symptoms, physical examination, X-rays and lab tests.


    The doctor may recommend you to get pictures of the affected joint.

    X-rays:Cartilage is not seen in the X-ray images, but its loss is identified by the narrowing of the space between the bones in your joint. An X-ray also reveals the bone spurs around the joints

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):MRI is used to develop a detailed image of bones and soft tissues, including cartilage. Generally MRI is not used for the diagnosis of OA, it is used in severe cases of OA to identify its complexity


    Analysis of your blood or joint fluid will help to confirm the diagnosis. 

    Blood tests: There is no blood test for osteoarthritis, but certain tests help in identifying other causes of joint pain, e.g. Rheumatoid arthritis test 

    Joint fluid analysis: In this test doctor withdraws the fluid from your affected joint using a needle. Various tests are conducted from this fluid to determine the cause of your pain, i.e. whether the pain is due to gout or inflammation or infection rather than OA.

    Your doctor might use a needle to draw fluid from an affected joint. The fluid is then tested for inflammation and to determine whether your pain is caused by gout or an infection rather than osteoarthritis.  

Benefits of Exercise in OA


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Makes you feel better by release of chemicals in your brain that reduce pain and boost your mood, such as serotonin
• Help you sleep better and give you more energy
• Loosen stiff joints and help keep them moving
• Strengthen and stretch muscles that help support and           move your joints
• Improve overall fitness
• Make your heart and lungs stronger
• Help you get to and stay at a healthy weight

The Role of Physical Activity

One of the most beneficial things one can do to manage OA is to simply move.It may sound counterintuitive, especially when your body hurts, but moving is truly the best medicine for pain.
Unlike many diseases, exercise is considered as an option of treatment for OA – perhaps the most effective one. The American College of Rheumatology recommends exercise – particularly aquatic exercise – in its guidelines for treating knee and hip OA.
In fact, research shows that exercise may actually affect the course of OA. In a review of 28 studies of knee OA, exercise was found to be associated with an increased amount of cartilage within knee joints and fewer cartilage defects. Another study discovered a surge of anti-inflammatory activity within the knee joints of women with knee OA immediately after performing intense thigh strenghtening excercises.

You should, of course, discuss starting an exercise program with your health care team. They can advise you on how to manage limitations and help create an easy-to-follow plan.
Try to incorporate the following three types of regular physical activity into your routine:
Stretching. Slow, gentle stretches, such as those that comprise yoga and tai chi, can help prevent joint stiffness and make it easier to get moving. These forms of exercise can improve flexibility, increase muscle strength and help you relax.
Aerobic activity. Engaging in regular physical activity is an important part of controlling OA symptoms. Aerobic exercise – any activity that gets your heart rate going – will strengthen your heart and lungs. Water exercises, walking and riding a stationary bicycle are less stressful on your joints than other aerobic activities.

Strengthening exercises. Activities that maintain and/or build strength and endurance in the muscles around affected joints are equally important. When muscles around a joint weaken,the joint loses its ability to function properly. The Arthritis Foundation offers land-based and water based exercise classes. For more information,contact your local office.
Flexibility and balance exercises. To help prevent falls, try to do gentle stretches or flexibility exercises every day. When doing muscle-strengthening exercises, you could mix in a few stretches; always stretch muscles while they are warm to reduce injury. Finally, add in exercises that help in increasing balance to help reduce the risk of falls.

How Much Activity Is Right for You?

  • Two and a half hours (150 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity
  • One hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
  • An equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
  • Aerobic activity should be performed in intervals of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week
  • Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups two or more days per week