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[ os″te-o-ahr-thri´tis ]
a noninflammatory degenerative joint disease marked by degeneration of the articular cartilage, hypertrophy of bone at the margins, and changes in the synovial membrane. Primary osteoarthritis, as part of the normal aging process, is most likely to strike the joints that receive the most use or stress over the years. These include the knees, the joints of the big toes, and those of the lower part of the spine. Another common form of osteoarthritis affects the distal joints of the fingers; this form usually occurs in women. Called also degenerative joint disease .
Symptoms vary from mild to severe, depending on the amount of degeneration that has taken place. Osteoarthritis is caused by disintegration of the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. As the cartilage wears away, the roughened surface of the bone is exposed, and pain and stiffness result. In severe cases the center of the bone wears away and a bony ridge is left around the edges. This ridge may restrict movement of the joint. Osteoarthritis is less crippling than rheumatoid arthritis. in which two bone surfaces may fuse, completely immobilizing the joint.
A type of arthritis marked by progressive cartilage deterioration in synovial joints and vertebrae. Risk factors include aging, obesity, overuse or abuse of joints (repetitive motions, bending, lifting), as in sports or strenuous occupations, instability of joints, excessive mobility, immobilization, and trauma. Signs and symptoms include pain and
inflammation in one or more joints, typically in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. The dominant side of the body is involved somewhat more often than the nondominant side. Affected joints become enlarged, lose range of motion, make sounds, or feel noisy or creaky. Diagnostic testing includes joint and symptom evaluation, including assessment of the location and pattern of pain and tests to rule out other diseases, including x-rays, joint fluid analysis, and blood tests. Synonym: degenerative joint disease ; illustration
Treatment is supportive, using exercise balanced with rest and locally applied heat. Weight reduction, if needed, can ease joint pain and improve mobility; a body mass index below 24.9 is desirable. Aerobic exercise and flexibility routines can prevent joint stiffness related to lack of movement, and strong muscles provide better joint support. Swimming and aquatic exercises, which improve aerobic fitness without stressing joints, are encouraged. Meditation and other forms of relaxation may be beneficial as part of the patient's daily routine. Analgesics provide pain relief. Acetaminophen is the drug of choice, unless contraindicated. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are good alternatives for pain that is unresponsive to acetaminophen, although these agents increase the risk of gastrointestinal injury, bleeding, and renal failure. Other useful drugs include low doses of narcotic pain relievers, steroids, and intra-articular injections. Some patients, esp. those with osteoarthritis of the knee, benefit from joint bracing. If degeneration reaches the point where a joint is “bone on bone, ” joint replacement surgery usually is recommended, providing greatly improved mobility and function as well as pain relief.
osteoarthritis (sˈ·tē·ō·är·thīˑ·tis) ,
n degenerative disease that affects one or more joints; characterized by proliferation of bone spurs, reduced cartilage in the joints, subchondral bony sclerosis, and loss of articular cartilage. See also