Arthritis is a collection of conditions primarily affecting one or more joints and other tissues in the body. This condition can cause pain, restrict mobility and can affect quality of life. Currently, 1 in 5 Canadians live with the many impacts of arthritis, making it Canada’s most prevalent chronic health condition. The most common form of arthritis is Osteoarthritis (OA). Other forms include inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, childhood arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and gout). Osteoarthritis affects the whole joint, but most of all it affects the articular cartilage (the cartilage covering the ends of the bone). The cartilage cushioning the bone starts to break down, becoming thin and fragile. As a result, the underlying bone begins to change form. These changes are slow in nature but do progress over time. Osteoarthritis occurs when there is more degeneration than regeneration of the cartilage. OA can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, most frequently affecting the joints of the hands, hips, and knees.
Signs and Symptoms of OA?
- Joint Stiffness
- Pain or Ache
- Decreased mobility, flexibility, range of motion
Causes of Osteoarthritis?
- OA is caused by damage or breakdown of joint cartilage between bones
- Joint overuse
Risk Factors for OA?
- Injury to the joint/Overuse – repetitive stress to the joint such as the knee can increase the risk of OA.
- Age – The risk of developing OA increases with age
- Gender- Women are at higher risk of developing OA than men- especially after age 50
- Obesity- Excess weight will out more stress and pressure on the weight bearing joints of the body such as hips and knees. Obesity also may have metabolic effects that increase the risk of OA.
- There is currently no cure for arthritis, but the symptoms can be managed through:
- Conservative Care: Mobilizations, manipulation, exercise
- Muscle strengthening
- Increasing physical activity
- GLA:D Canada