Sports, Pain &
Osteoarthritis Q & A
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become less dense and more likely to fracture. In osteoporosis, there is a loss of bone tissue that leaves bones less dense and more likely to fracture. It can result in a loss of height, severe back pain, and change in one’s posture. Osteoporosis can impair a person’s ability to walk and can cause prolonged or permanent disability. It is known as a silent disease because it can progress undetected for many years without symptoms until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by a bone mineral density test, which is a safe and painless way to detect low bone density.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
It’s still not clear exactly what causes osteoarthritis. We do know it isn’t simply ‘wear and tear’ and that your risk of developing osteoarthritis depends on a number of factors that are discussed below:
Osteoarthritis usually starts from the late 40s onwards. This may be due to bodily changes that come with ageing, such as weakening muscles, weight gain, and the body becoming less able to heal itself effectively. For most joints, osteoarthritis is more common and more severe in women.
Being overweight is an important factor in causing osteoarthritis, especially in weight-bearing joints such as the knee and the hip. A major injury or operation on a joint may lead to osteoarthritis in that joint later in life. Normal activity and exercise don’t cause osteoarthritis, but very hard, repetitive activity or physically demanding jobs can increase your risk.
The genes we inherit can affect the likelihood of getting osteoarthritis at the hand, knee or hip. Some very rare forms of osteoarthritis are linked to mutations of single genes that affect a protein called collagen. This can cause osteoarthritis to develop in many joints at an earlier age than usual.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis leads to pain and stiffness in the joints. In the early stages, a person may have no symptoms. Symptoms may occur in one or more joints, and they tend to appear gradually.
When symptoms develop, they can include:
The progression of Osteoarthritis involves:
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Treatment choices fall into four main categories: nonpharmacologic, pharmacologic, complementary and alternative, and surgical. In general, treatment should begin with the safest and least invasive therapies before proceeding to more invasive, expensive therapies. All patients with osteoarthritis should receive at least some treatment from the first two categories. Surgical management should be reserved for those who do not improve with behavioral and pharmacologic therapy, and who have intractable pain and loss of function.