Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the Joints. It is the most common type of Arthritis. Osteoarthritis mostly occurs in the Knees, Hips and Small Joints of the Hands and Base of the Big Toe but almost any Joint can be affected.
The Main Characteristics of Osteoarthritis are:
• Mild Inflammation of the Tissues in and around the Joints
• Damage to Cartilage - the strong, smooth surface that lines the Bones and allows Joints to move easily and without friction
• Bony Growths that develop around the edge of the Joints
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people over the age of 50 and is more common in Women than in Men. Osteoarthritis can also affect younger people as well.
The Symptoms of Osteoarthritis vary from person to person and from Joint to Joint but the Main Symptoms of Osteoarthritis are:
• Pain especially when doing load bearing activities such as walking
• Stiffness in the morning which improves in 30 minutes or less when you start to move
• Difficulty moving your affected Joints
In some cases of Osteoarthritis there may not be any symptoms at all as the pain can come in episodes. Often people will only experience symptoms in one Joint or in a few Joints at any one time and the symptoms may also develop slowly.
Other Symptoms may include:
• Joint tenderness
• Increased Pain and Stiffness when you have not moved your Joints for a while
• Joints appearing slightly larger or more 'knobbly' than usual
• A Grating or Crackling sound or sensation in your Joints
• Limited range of movement in your Joints
• Weakness and Muscle Wasting
Osteoarthritis of the Knee Joint
The Joint Fluid loses its ability to protect the Joint. The Smooth Cartilage that normally protects the ends of the Knee Bones may lose its cushioning effect or become pitted and frayed. Large areas of Cartilage may even wear away completely so the Bones scrape painfully over each other. Cartilage breakdown may cause the Joint to lose its shape and the Bone ends may thicken and form Bony Spurs. Fragments of Bone or Cartilage may float in the Joint Space causing further damage and pain.
1. Normal Cartilage provides a smooth surface so Bones can move easily across each other
2. High concentration of Hyaluronan in Synovial Fluid cushions and lubricates the Joint
3. Normal Bone
4. Eroded Cartilage if completely worn away, Bones may scrape painfully against each other
5. Low concentration of Hyaluronan in Synovial Fluid less able to protect the Joint
6. Osteophytes (Bone Spurs)
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis in the Knees
If you have Osteoarthritis in your knees, it is likely that both your Knees will be affected over time unless it has occurred as the result of an injury or another condition affecting only one Knee. Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking uphill or going up stairs.
Sometimes, your knees may 'Give Way' beneath you or make it difficult to straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected Joint.
The amount of damage to the Joints and the severity of symptoms can also vary. For example, a Joint may be severely damaged without causing symptoms or symptoms may be severe without affecting the movement of a Joint.
There is no cure for Osteoarthritis but the symptoms can be eased with a number of different treatments. Hyaluronic Acid Intra Articular Injections into the Knee Joint are a treatment for Osteoarthritis.
The potential benefits of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) for OA sufferers include:
• Directly treats the affected Joint
• Repeatable as required
• May help to avoid or delay Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery
• Long-term freedom from Knee & Hip Pain
• Simple & quick to administer
• Drug-free alternative to pills
It works by Restoring the Lubricating and Shock-Absorbing properties of Joint Fluid, which are depleted in Osteoarthritis. Claudia McGloin Clinic