Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that wears down the protective cartilage on bones. This disorder primarily affects joints in the hands, knees, hips and spine, and usually worsens if conservative and interventional treatment is not sought to slow its progression.
The most common cause of osteoarthritis is aging. As the body ages, the cartilage cushioning the ends of joints naturally deteriorate, forcing the joints to rub against bone. Although the risk of osteoarthritis increases with age, there are other factors that may contribute to its development and progression. Some of these risk factors may include:
- Joint Injuries
- Bone deformities
Symptoms of osteoarthritis may develop gradually and worsen as time passes. Signs or symptoms of osteoarthritis typically include pain and tenderness of the affected joints, in addition to some of the following:
- Joint stiffness most often in the morning or during physical activity
- Decrease in flexibility
- Reduction in range-of-motion
- Grating sensations when moving the affected joint
- Bone spurs that feel like hard lumps around the affected joint
A pain management specialist should evaluate symptoms lasting longer than a few weeks or months.