What are the most common signs of osteoarthritis? How to prevent this condition which, over time, degrades the quality of life and makes certain tasks difficult?
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis is characterized by an alteration of the cartilage in the joints, resulting in a decrease in mobility. This pathology can affect, depending on the person, the cervical vertebrae, the lumbar, hands, knees or even the hips. If it is more common in seniors, the appearance of osteoarthritis is not conditioned by advancing age.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis is a disease evolving over several years. In many cases, the disease is already well established when the first symptoms are felt.
SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS
The first signs of osteoarthritis are diffuse or sharp pain, which manifests itself when the patient requests the joint while it is in charge. Osteoarthritis is distinguished here from arthritis, which also causes intense pain at rest. Many people suffering from osteoarthritis know that pain appears after a period of rest and disappears after a period of mobilization of the painful joint.
Typical joint pain in the early stages of osteoarthritis
Stiffness at the start of the day
Fatigue pains, for example after standing for a long time
Pain on exertion, for example after hiking or jogging
In the case of advanced osteoarthritis, the patient complains of permanent pain at rest as well as on exertion. The pain due to osteoarthritis is generally confined to the affected joints. However, in osteoarthritis of the hip, pain in the groin sometimes radiates into the buttock or the knee.
Loss of mobility
Osteoarthritis of the knee or hip can make walking and sitting awkwardly. It can become very difficult to put on socks or lace-up shoes. In the case of osteoarthritis of the shoulder, the patient has difficulty raising the arm: he has difficulty putting on a coat or combing his hair. Due to the loss of mobility, we tend to spare the joints too much, which only makes the situation worse. This can weaken neighboring muscles and, in doing so, hinder joint stability.
Osteoarthritis is characterized in most cases by more or less severe pain in the affected joint. The pain manifests itself during the execution of a movement, generally ceases when it is completed and then reappears again when the joint is stressed.
The fact that the joint pain occurs more often at night than in the morning, the onset of functional impairment limiting the range of motion and nights disturbed by pain crises and regular alarm clocks are also signs of osteoarthritis currents.
Some people may also feel a certain stiffness when getting up (this is called "morning rust removal"). The latter can last several minutes and tends to disappear when the joint is sufficiently "heated". Swelling in the joint can also be one of the telltale signs of osteoarthritis in some people.
When osteoarthritis has reached an advanced stage, it is not uncommon for growths to appear in the joints, potentially causing more pain.
Contrary to popular belief, fever, weight loss, the heat felt in the joints are generally no signs of osteoarthritis. People with this condition enjoy good overall health in most cases.
In addition, the level of pain felt from one person to another is very variable and is not necessarily related to the degree of severity of the disease. Forms of osteoarthritis can be asymptomatic, even though they are very serious. Curcumin can help as a remedy for these symptoms – you can order curcumin online.
Most of the time, the joints affected by osteoarthritis are stiff, especially after periods of rest. For example, a person who wants to get up after sitting in the same position for a long time may find it difficult to stress their knee. These difficulties disappear with movements.
RADIOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS OF OSTEOARTHRITIS
Medical imaging (radiography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.) confirms or disproves the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. The attending physician can indeed order an additional medical examination at the end of his clinical examination and after having questioned his patient. The main signs of osteoarthritis sought by the medical profession are the following:
The presence of intra-articular pinching due to deterioration of the cartilage over time;
Growths called osteophytes or parrot beaks that testify to the body's attempts to "repair" the joint;
The presence of holes in the bone surrounding the joint;
The presence of intra-articular effusion;
Bone condensation under the cartilage.
HOW TO PREVENT OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Adopting some good habits and a healthy lifestyle will help you prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.
Keeping your weight stable
Being overweight, by putting pressure on the joints, can increase the chances of suffering from osteoarthritis. It is therefore important to maintain your healthy weight by adopting a balanced diet and in particular by monitoring your body mass index. Do not hesitate to use the services of a nutritionist to adopt good eating habits.
Practicing physical activity
The prevention of osteoarthritis also requires regular sports. Swimming or gentle gymnastics can, for example, strengthen the muscles and ultimately relieve the joints.
Vigilance point: you should avoid violent sports and not neglect warm-ups.
Helping your body to adopt the right postures
This can range from the use of orthopedic insoles to correct the inclination of the legs, to the prescription of sessions at the physiotherapist.
When the disease is well established, take care not to make movements stressing your painful joint repeatedly, avoid carrying too heavy loads and possibly adapt your environment to better live your arthritis on a daily basis (install a seat in the bathroom bath for women use a bra that unhooks the front in case of lumbar spondylosis, etc.).
Many forms of osteoarthritis are explained by poor posture or excessive stress on the joints. In addition to these factors, a sedentary lifestyle, very frequent, seems to favor osteoarthritis. Joints that are too little mobilized lack synovial fluid, a lubricating fluid that supplies the cartilage cells with nutrients. When there is a lack of synovial fluid, the cartilage cells die, releasing chemicals that soften the cartilage. Its surface cracks and erodes under the effect of the movements of the joints.
These causal relationships are clear. What is less so are the underlying causes that cause osteoarthritis. Several factors are suspected to interact.
Hereditary factors seem to play an important role. We note in particular that osteoarthritis of the fingers and knees is much more common in some families than in others. From the earliest stages of the body's development, genetics can influence the formation of joints or the development of cartilage.
Overloads of the joints also contribute to the onset of osteoarthritis. They can be linked to overweight, demanding physical work or the practice of certain sports. Some people are particularly sensitive to stress. Their cartilage is less resistant. Finally, bone fractures, sports trauma, knees or arching legs can also promote the development of osteoarthritis.
If the cartilage is affected by inflammatory rheumatic conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis can then develop there. This is called secondary osteoarthritis.
Other manifestations of osteoarthritis
If the cartilage is badly damaged, the friction of the bones can cause screeching or cracking. However, these noises are not indicative of the severity of the disease: healthy joints can also emit them.
In addition, bone growths (osteophytes) can form at the edge of the joints. They correspond to an attempt by the body to reduce the pressure exerted by enlarging the surface of the joint. Bone growths can restrict joint mobility and press on nerves and soft tissue, which can cause other pain.
Arthrosis joints can also develop inflammation, especially in the knees and fingers. The joints are hot and swollen, the skin may redden. Learn about osteoarthritis treatment here.
When osteoarthritis lasts for several years, it can lead to a change in the position of the bones. Osteoarthritis of the knee can result in arched legs or X-shaped legs, while osteoarthritis of the hip can cause a difference in length between the legs.