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Osteoarthritis: What it is and What are the Risks

In a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), osteoarthritis (OA) affected approximately 21 million adults in the U.S. in 2005. This musculoskeletal condition, which commonly affects the hands, knees, or hips, occurs when the cartilages that coat the bone endings wear down. Because of a worn-out cartilage, bones tend to “rub” each other, causing pain and friction.

Although anyone can experience osteoarthritis, older individuals and women are more prone to this musculoskeletal condition that their counterparts. Also, individuals who are overweight, have had joint injury before, and are exposed to forceful and repetitive motions at work are also more prone to this condition. Similarly, individuals whose parents or siblings have osteoarthritis are more likely to develop the condition as compared with those who have no family history of the disease.

Symptoms of OA range from mild to severe. Some of its symptoms include stiffness and tenderness in the affected area, and pain especially during movement or when pressure is applied. A person with osteoarthritis may also suffer from limited mobility because of pain and a grating sensation because of bone-to-bone contact.

For advanced OA cases, a person’s day-to-day function could be profoundly compromised. Some who have OA of the hip may even require hip replacement surgery to help them regain their independence. However, according to, some hip prostheses, such as Stryker hip implants, have been associated with different lawsuits with claims that it may cause complications, such as nerve damage and metallosis.

Scientists are yet to find out treatments that can cure OA. For now, treatments and therapies are available to alleviate its symptoms. Medications, such as painkillers and steroids, can be used to relieve inflammation and pain. Physical and occupational therapies, on the other hand, can help people with OA strengthen their muscles and do their everyday tasks with much ease despite their condition.