FAQs for Osteoarthritis Patients

Osteoarthritis is a common condition suffered by people who are over the age of 65. However, it is important to note that osteoarthritis is not something that just happens to people who have reached a certain age. As bone density lessens, cartilage can begin to also change. When cartilage begins to wear, there is less cushion available to manage shock from normal use of the body. As a result, patients are likely to experience pain and a number of other issues, especially associated with the knee. Contending with an aging body can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with. Experiencing pain can not only feel hopeless for a patient, but also terrifying. It’s not uncommon for patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis to face a number of questions.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects the joints and is also known as degenerative joint disease. It’s not uncommon for osteoarthritis to affect a number of joints, including:

  • Knees
  • Neck
  • Lower back
  • Hands
  • Hips

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints begins to deteriorate. This can cause pain in osteoarthritis sufferers for a number of reasons. Cartilage plays a key role in the proper functioning of joints because it provides a buffer between bones. Cartilage allows the joints to glide smoothly and, in most cases, without pain. Osteoarthritis can result in pain, discomfort, and even limited range of motion. Over time, osteoarthritis worsens, causing the bones to begin the process of breaking down. As the cartilage begins to wear away, the bones may begin to rub together. 

Who is most susceptible to osteoarthritis?

In most cases involving osteoarthritis, people who have it are over the age of 65. In general, many people who reach 65 begin to live a more sedentary lifestyle. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, most changes within the musculoskeletal system begin to occur during this time frame and are the result of a lack of use. 

How can osteoarthritis affect the knee? 

As cartilage wears away, bones begin to deteriorate from rubbing together. As a result, patients may begin to experience debilitating knee pain. The impact on a person suffering with knee pain resulting from osteoarthritis can be life-altering. It’s not uncommon to experience side effects from osteoarthritis which include: 

  • Significant pain
  • Lack of mobility
  • Swollen joints
  • Stiffness to the impacted area

Osteoarthritis can most certainly worsen over time. Because of this, it’s crucial to consult with a physician regarding treatment options. 

What are treatment options for osteoarthritis patients?

Your doctor will work with you to treat the areas of the body that have been impacted. The primary goal will be to help patients regain their mobility and manage the pain they are experiencing. While some treatments may be able to help administer immediate relief, others may take time before the benefits can be fully realized. Some examples of treatment include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Diet
  • Regular stretching
  • Pain medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone shots
  • Acupuncture
  • Surgery

Osteoarthritis is a condition experienced by many. Although there are a number of areas that may be impacted, the knee can be particularly challenging. Nobody wants to experience limited functioning that feels beyond their control. Contact a knee doctor, such as a knee pain doctor, who has experience in treating patients who are suffering with osteoarthritis.