About Severe Osteoarthritis
Although anyone in Los Angeles can suffer from OA, it is most common in adults over the age of 65, and typically develops as a normal byproduct of continuous wear and tear on the joints as a result of the aging process. All joints are susceptible to osteoarthritis, but it typically affects the joints in the hands, fingers, knees, hips, and elbows.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Because they are constantly in motion throughout a person’s lifetime, the joints are naturally vulnerable to some degree of cartilage damage and loss over time.
In addition to age, there are a few factors that can increase the risk of developing OA:
Genetics and heredity
Being obese or overweight, which puts additional pressure on the joints and makes them work harder
Weakened and under-developed muscles
Trauma from an injury
Repetitive strain and overuse of the joint
Side effect of another health condition or metabolic disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, hemochromatosis, and acromegaly
Mild to Severe Osteoarthritis
Signs & Symptoms of OA
“The most common symptoms associated with OA are pain, swelling, and stiffness in the affected joint, particularly in the morning after waking and when first moving again after periods of rest. Limited range of motion may also result. Osteoarthritis symptoms are progressive and develop slowly and intensify over time. A painful, grating sensation may be a sign of extensive cartilage loss and friction between the bones in the joint during movement.”
Mild to Severe Osteoarthritis
As it advances and cartilage continues to wear away, severe cases of osteoarthritis can also lead to:
Bone Spurs – Loose bodies (cartilage and bone fragments that break away and float in the joint space)
As the pain intensifies and the joint becomes harder to move, everyday tasks like walking, climbing stairs, and participating in sports and social activities can become extremely difficult and lead to diminished quality of life. Lack of physical activity can also increase the risk of serious secondary health risks related to weight gain, like diabetes and heart disease. Understandably, many people limit their physical activity and movement to mitigate the pain and avoid additional pressure on the affected joint, which can in turn make the stiffness and mobility problems worse.
“Once osteoarthritis has been diagnosed, an orthopedic specialist can design an appropriate treatment and pain management plan to help patients remain active and preserve quality of life as much as possible.”
Physical Therapy & Training Sessions
Medication to Manage Pain & Inflammation Symptoms
The most common medications for OA treatment are over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and acetaminophen, prescription pain relievers, and corticosteroids.
Canes, scooters, walkers, splints, braces (for the knee), and shoe orthotics
Acupuncture, massage, meditation, and hydrotherapy
If chronic inflammation and cartilage loss causes extensive damage to the hip joint, an orthopedic specialist may determine that surgery is necessary to improve function and movement to the joint.