Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. There are several types of arthritis, and the most common is osteoarthritis. Arthrosis is another name for osteoarthritis and can affect any joint in the body, though it occurs most often in fingers, knees, hips, and neck. It affects a person’s bones and ligaments, as well, and is caused by wear and tear on the joints and cartilage. The chances of developing this condition increase with age.
People with arthrosis can develop a range of symptoms, including swelling, pain, and stiffness in and around the affected joints. Tenderness and a reduced range of movement are common. Some people experience sounds in the joints, such as clicking, clunking, and crunching, and redness of the skin in the affected regions. Often, individuals with the condition develop muscle weakness and joint instability. They may also experience mood changes leading to depression.
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Cartilage is the slippery tissue at the end of bones which allows them to slide around each other. Because arthrosis can cause the cartilage in the joint to wear away, it can lead to bone-on-bone grating or rubbing. Small bits of bone growth, known as bone spurs, may grow around the affected joints. These issues cause many of the symptoms experienced by people with this condition.
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A range of factors contributes to whether a person develops arthrosis. Uncontrollable factors include age, gender, genetics, and joint deformities. Because wear and tear cause the condition, it is more common in older adults. Women are more likely to develop arthrosis than men, as are those who have a family history of arthritis. Not surprisingly, people with uneven joints or malformed cartilage are also more likely to develop the condition.
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People who are overweight are more at risk of arthrosis than those within a healthy range because additional weight places greater strain on the joints. Maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Occupation can affect the risk, as well: jobs that place joints under additional load or stress, and those that involve repetitive movements, contribute to an increased risk of osteoarthritis. People employed in these types of occupations should wear appropriate support braces and take frequent rests to reduce joint stress.
Accidents, injuries, and infections that damage the joints can increase the risk of arthrosis. When an injury occurs, the injured person should seek prompt medical treatment to reduce the risk of permanent damage. More recently, experts are investigating hormonal and inflammatory factors for their role in the development of osteoarthritis.
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Arthrosis is one of many conditions that can cause joint pain. It is important to visit a physician when joint pain lasts more than a short time, to receive a proper diagnosis. This will help ensure the individual receives appropriate treatment for the condition and advice for ongoing management.
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Medical practitioners can use x-rays to confirm a diagnosis of arthrosis and to assist in planning interventions. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is rarely required for diagnosis. Arthroscopy involves the insertion of a small camera near an affected joint, allowing the specialist to inspect it visually. Blood tests may be performed to check for markers of inflammation and infection, and physicians can collect fluid affected joint for analysis. Different people experience a wide variation in pain due to their condition, however, and x-rays cannot indicate this factor.
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A physical therapist can assign exercises that strengthen and stabilize a client's joints, helping maintain or even improve range of movement. An occupational therapist can help identify lifestyle and environmental adjustments that will reduce the impact of everyday activities. Orthotics can relieve stress and pressure on joints, and include splints, braces and shoe inserts.
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Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help manage symptoms of arthrosis such as pain and inflammation. Physicians may prescribe pain-relieving medicines or anti-inflammatories to treat these issues. Where less invasive options do not provide sufficient treatment, doctors may recommend surgery to clean, fuse, or replace affected joints.
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Understanding the condition and taking active efforts to manage symptoms will improve the quality of life for people with arthrosis. As well as being aware of pharmacological and surgical options, people with the condition should adopt doctor-approved fitness regimens and eat healthily. In particular, it is important for people with this condition to manage their weight.
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