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Health Information



Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease characterized by the exposure of bone beneath the articular cartilage due to wear and tear of the cartilage, surrounding tissue and inflammation of the synovial membrane around the joint. This type of disease is often called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Damage or degenerative changes to articular cartilage can cause pain, deformity and joint dysfunction due to secondary damage to the bones, joint sheaths and periarticular ligaments. Causes of osteoarthritis include genetic factors, obesity and joint trauma. A distinction is made between primary or idiopathic arthritis, which occurs without a specific cause due to factors such as age, gender and hereditary predisposition, and secondary arthritis, which is caused by infection, trauma and other conditions. 


The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is joint pain, most commonly in the knee. This pain increases with use of the joint and may persist regardless of movement. Patients may also experience limited joint mobility, severe pressure pain, swelling, and an audible creaking sound with movement. 


To diagnose osteoarthritis, the doctor relies on the patient’s history, physical examination and instrumental tests. These include x-rays, bone scans using radioisotopes and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  

Treatment and course of the disease

There are conservative and surgical treatments for osteoarthritis. Conservative treatment includes medication and lifestyle changes. Although there is no specific medication to treat osteoarthritis, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often prescribed to relieve symptoms. Lifestyle changes include reducing stress on the joints, correcting posture, reducing excess weight, local treatment and the use of special devices that reduce stress on the joint and help improve symptoms. 

Surgery can be used when conservative treatments are not effective enough to reduce pain and restore function, and degenerative changes in the joints continue to progress. Common surgical techniques include arthroscopic intra-articular vitreous removal, synovectomy, osteophyte resection, osteotomy, arthrodesis and plastic surgery. 

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