What is osteoarthritis (OA)?
OA is often referred to as ‘degenerative joint disease’ and usually develops slowly, over a period of years. It is a very common disease – 6% of adults aged 30 and above have frequent knee pain. Over time, the cartilage on the surface of the joint starts to get damaged and wear away and this causes pain and stiffness in the joint.18
If you suffer from arthritis you will be all too familiar with the range of symptoms that it causes and their effect upon your life.
You may suffer from OA if you have any of these symptoms:
- Stiffness in the morning
- Pain when you move
- Pain even when you are not active
- A crackling sound or a grating feeling when walking
- Red and swollen skin
Do you think you have osteoarthritis (OA)?
Don’t wait. It’s very important that you see a doctor, get a proper diagnosis, and start treatment right away.
How is OA diagnosed?
There are usually 4 steps to making a diagnosis of OA:
- Medical history. This is your doctor’s best tool to diagnose OA. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms, family history, and past medical conditions.
- Physical exam. Your doctor will look for typical signs of OA, such as swelling, tenderness, and loss of motion.
- Joint fluid sample. After applying a local anesthetic, your doctor will take a small amount of fluid from your joint. A lab test of this fluid can help confirm OA and rule out other conditions.
- X-rays or MRIs. These images can show damage inside the joint. Your doctor will be looking for the deterioration of cartilage that is typical of OA.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis (OA); but there are treatments that can help you manage and live with the condition.6 The goal of treatment is to decrease pain, maintain or improve joint movement, and limit functional loss so you can enjoy an active life.6 No treatment works for everybody – so make sure to discuss the options with your doctor before starting any treatment.
According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), drug therapy for pain management of OA is most effective when combined with non-pharmacologic strategies.6 In fact, non-pharmacologic measures should be maintained throughout your treatment period.6