Arthritis is a broad term that refers to inflammation of the joints. It encompasses various conditions that cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, and it affects millions of people worldwide. One common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which primarily affects the cartilage, a protective tissue that covers the ends of bones in joints.
Osteoarthritis is specifically described as degenerative and it causes pain and loss of function. It can happen as people age or from joint injuries or repetitive stress on the joints. Most commonly, it affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, and spine. Its symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and a reduced range of motion.
Several factors can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. They include aging, obesity, joint injuries, repetitive stress on the joints from certain occupations or sports activities, genetics, and certain medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or metabolic disorders. Specific treatments aim to manage symptoms, improve joint function, and enhance the quality of life. Self-care measures and physical therapy can help a lot.