Arthritis affects millions of people each day, and the most common type is osteoarthritis. Each joint in the body has a protective layer of cartilage that helps cushion some of the stress on the joints. Over time, this cartilage begins to wear down due to constant movement. Injury or repetitive stress to a joint and obesity also increase the risk. This degradation of cartilage and its resulting issues are osteoarthritis. Though the condition can affect any joint in the body, the most mobile joints are the most at risk. Osteoarthritis typically affects the hips, spine, hands, and knees.
One of the most common and prevalent symptoms of osteoarthritis is pain, which can manifest in a variety of ways. At first, most people feel a dull ache in the affected joints. Because osteoarthritis results from the wear and tear of joints, it is progressive. Over time, that dull ache may progress to severe pain that results in a loss of basic function. However, progression can take years or even decades and the rate is highly variable.
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