Osteoarthritis(OA) is the most common form of arthritis, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. It’s commonly known as the “wear and tear” arthritis and can occur on almost any joint in the body. Since it is associated with a breakdown of cartilage in joints, it most commonly occurs in weight-bearing joints like knees and hips. It can even start to affect your joints before you even notice any symptoms. So, how does this degenerative disease progress?
During the early stages of osteoarthritis, cartilage, a rubbery tissue that adds cushion between the bones of joints, begins to thin out. Friction starts to affect the bone underneath and the first symptoms of OA begin to arise. OA Symptoms can vary, but the most common ones are pain and stiffness of the affected joints. You may also notice a clicking or crackling sound when bending the joint, or even some mild swelling. Pain might also seem worse after an activity or towards the end of the day.
As osteoarthritis progresses, pain tends to intensify and tiny bony spurs can form along joint margins. Many people turn to anti-inflammatories(NSAIDS) like ibuprofen, to help treat the swelling and pain. It is important for people with OA to stay active, despite the pain. A sedentary lifestyle will only compound the pain.
In later stages of osteoarthritis, all of the joint structures could now be affected by the disease. For example, in a knee with OA, the healthy fluid to help lubricate is now gone and replaced with inflammatory fluid that causes more pain and swelling. Simply trying to walk can cause sufferers a great deal of pain and discomfort.
While there’s currently no cure for osteoarthritis, doctors are currently testing potential new OA treatments to help with the pain and suffering of this degenerative disease.
If you or someone you love is suffering from OA pain and looking for new treatment options to help manage symptoms, studies are enrolling now in your local area that may help. Research doctors are evaluating new treatment options and qualified participants may have access to potential new OA treatments. Participants often receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff, and may receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more about these studies and to see if you qualify CLICK HERE.