Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease which causes the cartilage to breakdown. Cartilage is a smooth shiny material that covers joints allowing them to glide easily as you move. It is a type of resilient connective tissue that covers and protects the ends of bones in joints. Although, OA can affect any joint in the body it more frequently affects the hips, knees, hands, feet and spine.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in Canada. OA is the most common form of arthritis. It affects one out of every ten people in this country. Statistics show that men and women are affected in equal numbers. OA usually occurs after the age of 45, but it can occur earlier in life.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It causes pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints. It can occur in any joint, but usually it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine.
Osteoarthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage absorbs the shock of movement. When you lose cartilage, your bones rub together. Over time, this rubbing can permanently damage the joint. Factors that may cause osteoarthritis include
- Being overweight
- Getting older
- Injuring a joint
Therapies that manage osteoarthritis pain and improve function include exercise, weight control, rest, pain relief, alternative therapies and surgery.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseas