We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis among Americans, should not be confused with its cousin rheumatoid arthritis. Both forms of arthritis create pain in the joints, but osteoarthritis is not an inflammation. Some physicians may call it degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, which indicates a gradual degeneration of joint tissue over time. Rheumatoid arthritis can flare up suddenly, but osteoarthritis generally doesn't appear until middle age or following trauma to a joint.

If you've ever heard a former athlete refer to a 'trick knee' or an elderly relative complain of joint pain on rainy days, they are most likely referring to osteoarthritis. As the body ages, the cartilage and fluid sacs between joints begin to disintegrate. Once this protection and cushioning is gone, the bones often begin to rub together. This in turn causes bones to form growths called spurs, which can contribute even more pain and instability to the joint.

Osteoarthritis does not have one specific cause, but there are a number of factors which can lead to its formation. Obesity can cause tremendous pressure on the hips, knees and ankle bones. These also happen to be three of the most common sites for osteoarthritis. There is also some evidence that heredity and genetics play a role in the development or non-development of osteoarthritis later in life. Sports injuries involving joints can also lead to early development of osteoarthritis.

There is no specific cure for osteoarthritis, but there are a variety of pain management options. Many sufferers find temporary relief through the use of non-steroidal analgesics like Osteo Bi-Flex. Athletes often receive injections of cortisone to create a temporary cushion between damaged joints. Heat treatments and medicated sportscremes such as Myoflex and BenGay can also provide some relief from the stiffness. In more serious cases of osteoarthritis, the entire joint may be replaced with an artificial one. This is most commonly done with hip and knee joints.

Osteoarthritis does not affect every weight-bearing joint in the body, contrary to popular thought. Overuse of joints such as the elbows or wrists will not automatically lead to osteoarthritis in later life, although these areas are prone to tendinitis, which may feel similar to arthritis in many ways.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to The Health Board, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By bagley79 — On Oct 22, 2011

I work in an assisted living center, and every day I hear about the osteoarthritis pain many people are suffering from.

This seems like it is something that affects so many elderly people. I don't think it would be quite so bad if this is the only thing they had wrong, but many of them have a lot of other issues going on too.

There is also a big range in how it affects people. Some have severe osteoarthritis and have a hard time getting around without assistance. For others it may just affect their hands, knees and hips.

I would say at least 80% of the people I work with complain about their arthritis on a regular basis. It makes we wonder if there is a way I can prevent getting this as I get older.

I try to keep my weight down and eat healthy, but don't know if that will make a difference when it comes to arthritis or not.

By SarahSon — On Oct 21, 2011

My husband has worked construction for most of his career and his knees are about shot. The doctor told him because of all the osteoarthritis in his knees, he will eventually have to have both of them replaced.

He is trying to put this off as long as possible. They have not locked up on him yet, so he keeps going. He has a couple other options he can try before surgery, but they are only temporary fixes.

If the pain gets too bad, he can receive a cortisone shot. This brings immediate relief for awhile, but never lasts long enough.

They can also do some surgery with a scope which he would not have nearly the long recovery time as a complete replacement would. This would help ease the pain for a bit longer, but he would still need to have them replaced.

The thought of being laid up for a few months is not something he looks forward to. The pain is getting worse though, and I don't think he will be able to keep putting it off much longer.

By Mykol — On Oct 20, 2011

My dad complains of his arthritis a lot and it has quite an impact on his daily living. It is frustrating for him when he can't do everything he has enjoyed in the past.

He loves to play the piano, and so many times his fingers are so stiff that he can hardly play. His osteoarthritis treatment mainly consists of over the counter medication to help with the pain and stiffness, but for the most part, he has learned to live with it.

I broke my arm once when skiing and have a small taste of what he must feel like all over his body. My arm has never been the same since, and on cold, damp days I can really feel it in my joints.

So far I just have arthritis in this one area, and can imagine how it must feel if your whole body felt this way.

By elfi64 — On Apr 11, 2008

There are four levels of osteoarthritis, depending on how much of cartilage has worn out. In stage four there is no space between bones, no cartilage left, one bone sits on the top of the other. Ouch that hurts. Usually this occurs in hip, knee and ankle joints.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to The Health Board, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.