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Osteoarthritis

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a gradual wearing down of the cartilage in a joint, causing pain and limiting movement.

About

Over the years, wear and tear affects cartilage in the joints, causing pain, weakness and stiffness. This is known as osteoarthritis. It can affect any joint but is most common in the knees, hip, spine, hands, and ankles. It's a degenerative condition and often starts in people over 50-years-old but can be much younger.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Osteoarthritis develops when the shock absorbing cartilage and related structures in your joints wear away. OA is more common as you get older. This is because a person's joints wear down naturally over time, after years of use. Obesity and joint injury are also factors. Sometimes conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or pseudogout cause the cartilage to wear away, leading to osteoarthritis Symptoms of the condition include: - Pain — this can become worse when you move your join, weight bear, or at the end of the day - Stiffness — your joints may feel stiff especially after rest - Swelling — hard of soft swelling of the affected joint.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Osteoarthritis is often picked up during routine health checks, but you can ask your doctor for a diagnosis if you think you have the condition. The doctor will test your joint for tenderness, creaking or grating sounds (crepitus), bony swelling, excess fluid, reduced movement, joint instability and muscle weakness. They may also recommend x-rays, which show bony spurs or narrowing spaces between bones. MRI scans are also used to show changes in soft tissues such as thinning cartilage, and worn tendons and muscles.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    Most cases of arthritis are treated with activity modification, changes in diet and exercise. Swimming is a good exercise that can help. Pain killers and steroid injections can help relieve symptoms. If these measures do not work, keyhole surgery may be recommended to clear debris in the joint and try to restore mobility. Joint replacement surgery is also available and may be recommended for worn knees, hips, ankles, and shoulders. Here, the worn joint is replaced with an artificial joint to restore mobility and relieve pain. In some circumstances fusion surgery is recommended, but your specialist will discuss the best option for you.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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