What is arthritis?
Arthritis is inflammation (swelling) of the joints. It causes pain and, often, it also limits the movement of the joints are affected. There are many types of arthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis (also called degenerative joint disease) can affect any joint in the body and make the buffer layer between the bones (called cartilage) becomes worn.
What is the cause of osteoarthritis?
The exact cause is unknown. Osteoarthritis can be inherited, which means it is passed from father to son. In most individuals, osteoarthritis seems related to the wear of the joints caused with the lapse of time.
What happens when a joint is affected?
Typically, a smooth layer of cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones of a joint. Cartilage helps the joint move easily and comfortably. In some people, the cartilage becomes thinner as the joints are used. This is the onset of osteoarthritis. Over time, the cartilage wears away and bones can rub together.
Even the bones may begin to become too thick at the ends where they join to form a joint, and can break off pieces of cartilage and impeding the movement. This can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joint.
Who has osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is more common in older people, as they have been using their joints longer. Using the joints to do the same task over and over or simply using them over time can worsen osteoarthritis.
Younger people may also have osteoarthritis. Athletes are at risk as overused joints. People who have jobs that require the same motion over and over is also at risk. Injuries to a joint may increase the risk of arthritis in the joint later. Excess weight can accelerate arthritis in the knees, hips and spine.