Arthritis is a joint disorder causing pain, stiffness and inflammation of one or more joints. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, an estimated 46 million people suffer with some form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis are common types of arthritis caused by wear and tear or injury of the joints.
Arthritis affects the joints. A joint, where two bones meet, makes moving the body possible. Damage to this area, otherwise known as arthritis, can cause chronic inflammation or swelling, redness, heat, pain and a decrease in movement. This joint dysfunction can be caused by age, injury, infection or autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself.
Osteoarthritis, or “OA”, the most common type of arthritis, is typically caused when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones begins to wear away. The bones then begin to rub together. This friction can cause chronic or recurring pain, morning stiffness and overall decrease in movement. Inflammation, the body’s response to injury or disease processes, is another symptom which may or may not be present. In some cases osteoarthritis causes the joint deformities and crepitus. Crepitus is the crackling sound made when two affected joint ends rub together.
Osteoarthrosis is another name for the chronic condition known as osteoarthritis. This joint disorder is also referred to degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthrosis is common in the hands, feet and larger joints such as the spine or hips, but can occur in any joint of the body. Typically there is minimal to no inflammation accompanying the pain, stiffness and limited mobility.
There are two types of osteoarthritis or osteoarthrosis: primary and secondary. Primary OA is a condition where the water content of the protective cartilage decreases with age. This intensifies joint degeneration and causes the symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis.
Secondary OA is caused by an injury, or a medical or congenital condition. Medical causes of osteoarthritis can include such things as diabetes, lupus, obesity and hormonal disorders. Congenital conditions, or problems which occur to a developing fetus, which may lead to OA are things like hip dysplasia, or a misalignment of the hips, and dislocations.
The most common sign of any form of arthritis is pain, stiffness and joint deformity. Physical examination of the affected joints may also help determine the presence of osteoarthritis or osteoarthrosis. X-rays are used to assess the severity of joint damage and its progression.
Treatment includes the use of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), exercise and modifications to difficult daily activities. Rest and joint protection via splints or bracing is recommended with a flare-up of symptoms. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections to calm inflammation or surgery to decrease pain and increase mobility may be an option.
- The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy; Robert Berkow, MD Editor-in-Chief; 1987
- Medicine Net