Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis does not always get worse with increasing age, and symptoms can improve. There are a number of possible treatment options, which a member of your care team should discuss with you.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints. It is the most common type of arthritis.

Over the years, the normal use of joints results in a low level of wear to certain parts of the joints. The body naturally maintains the joints by making small changes to the structure and by repairing minor injuries caused by this regular use. Usually this doesn't result in any symptoms. But sometimes the repair process is incomplete and the symptoms of osteoarthritis can develop.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness and problems moving the joint. Sometimes the joint swells and becomes inflamed. Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person or between affected joints. Pain and other symptoms can often flare up and settle back down again. The level of pain does not always reflect the condition of the joint.

Osteoarthritis is most common in the hips, knees, hands and feet, but other joints can also be affected. It is not unusual to have osteoarthritis in more than one joint.

Osteoarthritis is found mostly in people over 45, but younger people can also be affected. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is a part of ageing, and that it always gets worse and cannot be treated. But osteoarthritis does not always get worse as you get older. There are treatments available and changes you can make to your lifestyle (such as exercise and losing weight) that can help to reduce pain and other symptoms.

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