Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is typically non-inflammatory and usually affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, spine and hands. It breaks down the articular (hyaline) cartilage at the ends of bones. Healthy cartilage, which are the joints “shock absorbers”, allows our bones to smoothly glide against each other in pain-free motion. When this cartilage wears away, bone surfaces grind against each other with movement, thereby causing intense pain, swelling and reduced motion in joints. Other signs and symptoms may include the development of bone spurs, point tenderness and stiffness of affected joints.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, meaning it gradually worsens over time. Risk factors to consider with the progression of this condition include prior joint injury, body weight, occupational and recreational demands, genetics, bone malformations and concurrent diseases.