There are many forms of arthritis that can cause pain and swelling in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) are the two most common types. As the joint begins to deteriorate, the ends of the bones can start to rub together causing intense pain and stiffness. Over time, the chronic pain can become debilitating and have an adverse effect on your overall quality of life and ability to care for yourself.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, and is most commonly caused by joint damage that is the result of an injury or deterioration of the bone due to a chronic health condition. A joint injury can limit your range of motion, allowing scar to tissue to form. Athletes are at an increased risk for developing osteoarthritis and bone spurs due to the excessive wear and tear on their joints. As the condition progresses, osteoarthritis pain can become so severe that it affects your flexibility and your ability to move freely.

Symptoms

There are several symptoms associated with osteoarthritis including:

  • Pain that ranges from dull and throbbing to intense and sharp
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Grating or sandy feeling within the joint
  • Reduced flexibility

Pain is often more severe at night or after a long period of immobility.

Treatment Options

Osteoarthritis can’t be cured, but the pain and discomfort associated with it can be effectively managed. Over the counter pain medications can relieve pain and discomfort and minimize the inflammation. Simple lifestyle changes can also help to relieve pain and slow down the progression of the disease.  If you’re overweight, weight loss and regular exercise can also help to reduce pain and help you to remain active. Reducing your risk factors by eating a healthy diet and getting adequate rest is also recommended.

Who Is At Risk?

Individuals with osteoporosis and degenerative bone conditions are also at an increased risk for developing osteoarthritis. Having a family history of arthritis of any kind can also increase your risk. Individuals who are overweight may develop osteoarthritis over time simply because of the increased stress and strain on their joints.

Even though you have risk factors that make osteoarthritis a possibility, you can protect yourself to a degree by eating a healthy diet, managing your weight, and exercising on a regular basis. If you’re athletically inclined use braces and wraps to support and protect your joints. Make sure to get adequate amounts of rest and use supplements to ensure you get enough calcium and other nutrients to support good bone health.