What is Osteoarthritis | Symptoms, Diagnosis, & More | Singapore General Hospital
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Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)

Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) - What it is

Initially it affects the joint cartilage, causing pain in the joints. The pain and stiffness in the joint can ultimately restrict movement. The pain tends to get worse towards the end of the day and with activity.

The primary cause of osteoarthritis is increased age and “wear and tear” of the joints. However, there is increasing research evidence that osteoarthritis may be more than just “wear and tear”.

Osteoarthritis can also arise as a side effect of other problems that put abnormal stress on the joints, such as obesity (from the joints having to carry that extra weight), abnormally shaped hips and knees (added stress is placed on these joints when a person moves), a previous fracture or injury involving the joint, or in the case of some sportsmen, repeated stress to the joint.

This conditions affects both men and women; where women have a higher rate of it. The rates increase sharply after one turns 50.

While osteoarthritis can affect any joint, it occurs more commonly at the knees, hips, spine, and hands. 

What does osteoarthritis do to the joints?

Our joints are normally covered with cartilage so that they can glide over each other smoothly. In Osteoarthritis, the joint cartilage steadily softens and disintegrates over time.

With the loss of this protective material, the exposed bones of the joint begin to grind against each other more easily and wear each other out, creating a painful sensation when weight is put on them, such as during walking or standing up. As the condition progresses, cysts, bony lumps and excess fluid may develop in the affected joint, giving rise to a swollen joint.

Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) - Preparing for surgery

Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) - Post-surgery care

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth