Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition in which joint cartilage begins to wear down, causing bone to rub against bone. As a result, the body may begin to produce new bone to protect against this, which is how a bone spur forms.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 21 million Americans. Three times as many women suffer from the disease than men.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the covering on the ends of bones gradually wears away, becoming frayed and rough. It typically develops due to many years of use and affects people middle-aged and older. Osteoarthritis targets hands and weight-bearing joints, such as knees, hips, feet and back.

Risk Factors

  • Age- 45 yrs or older
  • Gender- majority of sufferers are women
  • Certain hereditary conditions including defective cartilage and malformed joints
  • Joint injuries caused by physical labor or sports
  • Obesity
  • Diseases that alter normal structure and function of cartilage

Symptoms (usually come on slowly)

  • Pain and inflammation
  • Pain may develop gradually and feel like a deep ache.
  • Swelling and stiffness
  • May be worse in the morning and feel better with activity

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hip and knee joint replacements are among the most commonly performed and clinically successful surgical procedures in the United States. The most common reason for knee and hip replacement procedures is pain from osteoarthritis. With one-third of Americans obese and an aging population, the prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to increase, contributing to a growing demand for joint replacement procedures. According to one analysis, by 2030 the demand for total hip replacements is estimated to increase by about 175% and the demand for total knee replacements is projected to grow six-fold.”

National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2009 With Special Feature on Medical Technology. Figure 27. Discharges with at least one knee or hip replacement procedure in nonfederal short-stay hospitals among adults age 45 years of age and over, by type of procedure: United States, 1996-2006.

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