Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Arthrosis is a disease that affects the cartilages of a joint by slowly destroying them. It is a chronic pathology, meaning that the patient in question will suffer it for a very long time. The most affected areas by this disorder are the hands, spine, knees and hip.

Currently, there is no drug that completely cures osteoarthritis. However, certain medications will delay the progression of the disease.

We can differentiate two types of osteoarthritis: primary (without a certain cause) and secondary (as a consequence of an underlying disease, a ‘trigger’). Among the most common triggers we can mention are congenital diseases, injuries, traumas or rheumatoid arthritis. Repetitive movements during work or practicing sports can wear out the cartilages that are involved in that particular action.

Osteoarthritis appears more frequently in women and in people over 65 years old. We can also point out other risk factors or conditions that increase the chances of presenting the disorder. For example, being overweight or obese, menopause and family history (a family member who has suffered the disease).

At the beginning or in the early stages of this pathology, the patient usually presents certain signs or symptoms. Among the most common we can find:

  • Inflammation of the affected joint.

  • Presence of edema (an accumulation of fluid) in nearby regions.

  • Cracks or noises when making a movement with your hands.

  • Rigidity or numbness of the altered extremities after a period of inactivity. It is also common to feel a tingling sensation at different times during the day.

  • Difficulty to carry out any movement that implies that articulation to come to action, especially after a few moments of rest.

  • Formations of lumps or prominences on the skin of the hands (also called subcutaneous nodules). Therefore, these nodules can cause deformation or an unsightly appearance.

  • Pain or discomfort that can vary in intensity. There are certain cases in which the patient doesn’t have this discomfort. It is caused by rubbing between the bones that make up the joint.

The diagnosis can be made through a physical examination along with other medical procedures. They may include the analysis of substances such as blood, urine and synovial fluid and the obtaining of images such as x-rays, ultrasound, magnetic resonance, etc.

The treatment of osteoarthritis is personalized and depends on the degree of the evolution of the disease. Some general measures include several medications that relieve the pain of the patient or the inflammation of the affected joints. To combat this inflammation, analgesics and anti-inflammatories are classic symptomatic treatments. But that is not all, in recent years, doctors and specialists have progressively been introducing other drugs that modify the course of the disease, although they do not cure osteoarthritis they may slow its progress. This way, the patient retains mobility for a longer period of time and is self-sufficient in daily tasks. Within the family of innovative medications are chondroprotectors such as chondroitin sulfate, which is found naturally in the cells that surround the extracellular matrix in our body.

In the most advanced cases, surgical intervention may be necessary in order to calm the pain. There are also numerous recommendations that do not involve medical treatment. These include carrying out exercises to maintain a healthy quality of life and to avoid becoming overweight, which can only exacerbate symptoms. When thinking about easy home remedies, patients can apply heat to loosen up the affected area and cold to reduce swelling or inflammation.

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