Osteoarthritis is chronic inflammation in the joints due to damage to the cartilage. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis or arthritis. This condition causes complaints, such as aching, stiff, and swollen joints.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it is most common in the joints of the fingers, knees, hips and spine. Osteoarthritis symptoms generally develop gradually over time.
Osteoarthritis cannot be cured. However, there are a number of actions that can be taken to relieve symptoms, prevent worsening, and help sufferers to return to their activities independently.
Osteoarthritis Causes and Risk Factors
Osteoarthritis is caused by damage to the cartilage and joints. This condition occurs when the cartilage that protects the bones loses its elasticity. As a result, there is friction between bones which makes them more susceptible to damage and causes arthritis.
Increasing age is one of the main factors in the occurrence of osteoarthritis. In addition, there are several other factors that can increase a person's risk of suffering from osteoarthritis, namely:
- Suffer from obesity
- Have an injury to the joint
- Have a family history of osteoarthritis
- Have a history of surgery on bones and joints
- Female sex, especially those who have menopause
- Have congenital abnormalities in cartilage or joints
- Suffer from certain diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and hemochromatosis
- Doing work or physical activity that causes joint stress continuously, for example wearing high heels
In the early stages, people with osteoarthritis may experience complaints of aching or sore joints and stiff joints. These symptoms will develop slowly and get worse over time. This condition makes it difficult for sufferers to carry out daily activities.
Apart from joint pain and stiffness, other common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
- Swollen joints
- A scraping sound is heard when moving the joint
- Weak muscles and reduced muscle mass
- Additional spurs or bones appear
- A lump appears on the joint in the finger
- Crooked fingers
When to see a doctor
Check with your doctor if you experience the symptoms mentioned above, especially if these complaints limit your activities. The doctor will conduct an examination to determine the cause and determine the treatment according to the complaints you are experiencing.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
The doctor will conduct questions and answers about the patient's complaints and medical history. After that, the doctor will carry out a thorough physical examination, including painful joints, and detect whether there is swelling or limited joint motion.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend the patient to undergo supporting examinations, such as:
- Scan with X-rays and MRI , to see the condition of the bones and detect inflammation in the bones and joints
- Blood tests , to detect infection or other causes of joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Joint fluid analysis , to see if there is inflammation or infection in the joint
Treatment of osteoarthritis aims to relieve symptoms so that sufferers can continue to carry out normal activities. Treatment methods that can be done include:
To relieve pain and inflammation the doctor will give medicines, such as:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen, nabumetone , naproxen sodium, etodolac , or etoricoxib
- Capsaicin cream
- Corticosteroid class of injectable drugs
Patients with osteoarthritis can undergo physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles around the joints. This therapy can also increase the flexibility of joints and muscles, and reduce pain.
Although rare, surgery can be performed to repair or replace damaged joints. This action aims to help the patient to move more easily. Surgical methods that can be performed by doctors are, for example , total hip replacement in hip osteoarthritis and total knee replacement in knee osteoarthritis.
In addition to increasing endurance, regular exercise can strengthen the muscles around the joints so that the joints will be more stable.
Overweight osteoarthritis patients are advised to lose weight . This aims to reduce pressure on the joints so as to reduce pain.
Complications of Osteoarthritis
Untreated osteoarthritis can cause pain and discomfort. This condition can trigger other complaints or health problems, such as:
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety disorder
- Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue)
- Joint infection
- Pinched nerve or herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP)
Prevention of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can't always be prevented . However, there are several efforts that can be made to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis, including:
- Maintain ideal body weight
- Exercise regularly and be physically active
- Maintain posture while sitting or standing
- Stretching the muscles after sitting for a long time
- Get enough and regular rest
- Be careful when walking and driving to avoid joint injuries