Osteoarthritis, also known as “osteoarthritis” or “chronic degenerative arthropod” is a disease of the joints. It is a chronic disease that causes pain and often causes severe and persistent bone proliferation, cyst formation and degradation of cartilage in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage wears abnormally. The joints most affected are the knees, hips, spine and, to a lesser extent, shoulders, ankles and wrists. In Canada, it is estimated that one in 10 suffers from osteoarthritis.


There are several factors that contribute to this disease. The main ones are:

* Abnormal wear of the cartilage caused by repetitive motion or trauma.
* Obesity.
* The lack of physical exercise.
* Hereditary factors.
* aging.

In addition, some researchers argue that the physical and mental exertion may increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

Who is affected?

Overall, anyone can suffer from osteoarthritis. Although they are less common, sometimes the disease is diagnosed in very young adults, men or women. However, the risk increases significantly after age 45. Those most likely to suffer from osteoarthritis are:

* Seniors over 50% of people aged 70 and over suffer from osteoarthritis.
* Postmenopausal women over 55 years.
* People who are obese or overweight.
* People who perform repetitive movements in their intense work or practice a sport (tennis, for example).
* Women who wear high heels constantly.
* People who have suffered a trauma to a joint (sprain, fracture, etc..)
* The very sedentary .


It is not a contagious disease.

The main symptoms

Affected joints and pain intensity may vary from person to person and over time. The most common symptoms include:

* Pain in one or more joints.
* A stiff joints involved, especially in the morning or after a long period of immobility, such as during an airplane flight.
* The “cracks” in the bones.
* Inflammation visible to the naked eye redness, swelling.
* A lack of flexibility in affected joints.
* Pain in the event of change of temperature.
* A bone augmentation (“bumps”) in certain joints, especially the hands and feet.



Your doctor will ask several concrete actions to diagnose this disease:

* A detailed questionnaire on the frequency and intensity of pain and other symptoms.
* A detailed examination of painful joints, in order to assess their flexibility and deformity, if any.
* X-rays.
* Blood tests (to eliminate other possible causes).
* The analysis of the liquid present in the joints.

Possible risk of complications

When pain and bone spurs become particularly important, it can be difficult to perform daily tasks yet simple, for example, use a knife to cut food, go for a walk or gardening, etc. This can cause low self-esteem and feelings of dependency, sometimes causing depression.


The first thing to do is usually to begin moderate physical activity (swimming, walking, cycling), where possible. A significant improvement in the frequency and intensity of pain is usually observed after a few weeks. Currently, there are several ways to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, but it is impossible to completely eradicate the disease. Treatment is aimed at improving the overall condition of the person affected and overall quality of life. These include:

* The physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
* The oral intake of anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesics to reduce pain and inflammation caused by the disease.
* The application of topical creams or gels on painful joints.
* The injection drug cortisone into joints especially when pain intensity affects the patient’s mobility.

As a last resort, when nothing worked, it is recommended surgery to remove bone fragments and cartilage, or “file” the bone spurs cause pain. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the affected joint with an artificial metal or plastic.


Risk of osteoarthritis can be significantly reduced with a few gestures simple:

* Maintain a healthy weight.
* Exercise at least three times per week.
* Although cure any injury to a joint, even if it seems minor.
* Protect your joints when practicing a sport often strong impact.