Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and mobility restriction. It is the most commonly seen type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis comes from the breakdown of joint cartilage and wear and tear on the underlying bone. In this inflammatory condition, the body fails to repair the injury or damage to the affected tissues.
Cartilage is a kind of tissue that covers the surface of the bones within a joint. When healthy, it usually is smooth, allowing joints to move freely and without friction. Damage to this lubricating cartilage exposes the underlying bones, which causes inflammation and further damage to the joint.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
Aging is a risk factor for osteoarthritis. The potential for osteoarthritis increases as you get older. Women suffer from osteoarthritis more often than men. A patient’s genetics are also a pivotal contributor to arthritic conditions. Some people are genetically programmed to be more prone to osteoarthritis, just as some are more likely to have gray hair and wrinkles.
Prior sports and other types of injury can damage the cartilage and predispose an individual to the development of osteoarthritis. Certain repetitive job actions or stresses that overtax and put pressure on the joints, such as heavy lifting can lead to arthritis. Additionally, being overweight causes more stress on the spine, hips, and knees, leading to osteoarthritis. If you are looking for an osteoarthritis doctor in Main Line, PA, then doctors from the Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania may be of help.
Symptoms and treatments for osteoarthritis
The most pronounced symptom of osteoarthritis is pain. However, it can also include swelling, stiffness, reduced range of motion, and mobility restrictions. Osteoarthritis typically affects the weight-bearing joints, including the hips, knees, toes, and spine. It can involve the joints in the shoulders and fingers as well. Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by examining an individual’s symptoms, and by examining x-rays or MRI scans of the joints.
Unfortunately, there is not a cure for osteoarthritis at this time. Treatments include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Exercise and physical therapy
- Weight loss
- Joint replacement surgery
Stem cell therapy is a new and innovative form of treatment for osteoarthritis. Stem cells are extracted from an individual’s adipose (fat) tissue or bone marrow and then injected into the damaged or injured joint. Stem cell therapy has demonstrated benefits in both animals and people.
Stem cells work to repair and regenerate arthritis-damaged tissues by decreasing inflammation. They can repair cartilage, as well. Treatment with stem cells could help delay the need for a total joint replacement for a few years. When stem cell therapy is combined with physical therapy, it can ease pain, help to lessen swelling, and improve mobility in the joint.