Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis

Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis

Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis After the lovely summer weather we have had, we will really notice the cooler and damp weather which often reflects in an increase in the number of patients attending the clinic with joint aches and pains. The most common cause of these symptoms is osteoarthritis. In fact, more than 75 percent of people older than fifty-five show the joint changes of osteoarthritis somewhere in their body but not all will experience symptoms. As you near the age of retirement the opportunity for pursuing leisure activities, travel, enjoying family and other interest’s increases. Therefore staying fit and active is essential. The body, however has changed, it will have lost some of its elasticity and ability to adapt. It will have experienced injuries and postural stress over the years resulting in stiffness and degenerative change. What is Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is most common in the hip, knee, spine (spondylitis), ankle, feet and small joints of the hand. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, crepitus or cracking joints and joint enlargement/swelling which may be experienced in more than one area. In these joints the cartilage protects the end of the bones where they meet and provides a smooth, frictionless surface to allow movement. Each joint is surrounded by ligaments and a capsule which holds bone to bone and keeps the lubricating fluid inside the joint. Osteoarthritis is a wearing of the cartilage surface away from the contacting bony surfaces similar to break pads on a car. Unlike break pads, during the early stages of osteoarthritis the body has the ability to repair the cartilage. The new cartilage is thicker but more...