It is common to have the occasional stiff or creaky joint as you become older. However, if you notice a knee or hip becoming increasingly problematic then you may be experiencing osteoarthritis symptoms, a “wear, and tear” form of arthritis, which develops slowly and gradually over the course of several years and is also known as degenerative arthritis. If you suffer from this condition, there are plenty of osteoarthritis treatments for you to consider so that you can still enjoy life to the full.
What is osteoarthritis and why is it known as degenerative arthritis?
In a joint affected by osteoarthritis, the surface of the cartilage on the end of the bones becomes rougher and thinner and at the same time the bone beneath thickens and grows outwards, forming bony spurs. Movements are no longer smooth and fluid, the joints become painful, creaky and swollen while you try to move.
Osteoarthritis is most common in the weight-bearing joints of the knees, hips and spine. In women, it often also affects the hands and feet. Osteoarthritis symptoms come and go and they gradually worsen over time. Typical osteoarthritis symptoms include:
- osteoarthritis pain after moving the joint
- morning stiffness or stiffness in the joint after rest, which improves when you start moving the joint
- a creaking sound while moving the affected joint
- a smaller range of movement
Osteoarthritis becomes more common as you get older and the intensity of osteoarthritis pain will also increase as the condition advances. It is extremely rare before the age of 40. The known risk factors for developing osteoarthritis are:
- being overweight
- doing hard, repetitive exercises, such as gymnastics or ballet
- having a family history of osteoarthritis
- having had a joint operation or an injury
- having a joint abnormality at birth
If you have osteoarthritis it is important to keep as active as you can. People always worry about making osteoarthritis pain and joint stiffness worse with exercise, but keeping active will actually reduce it, especially in the hip and knee. Of course, when you experience moderate to intense osteoarthritis pain, it can be really difficult to exercise. However the less active you are, the more likely you are to gain weight, which will consequently put extra strain on your weight-bearing joints. Swimming or walking in water is a particularly excellent option.