Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting millions of people. Sometimes known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis, this degenerative joint disease causes stiff and painful joints. It can also affect your mobility.
While you might associate osteoarthritis with aging, it can affect people at any age. Genetics, injury, and lifestyle habits can all contribute. However, when you recognize the symptoms, you can get an early diagnosis and find effective osteoarthritis management.
At Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Bradley A Silva, MD offers multiple modalities to treat the cause of your pain and not just your symptoms. Some of those treatments include physical therapy, medications, surgery, injection therapies, and more.
As you may know, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage breaks down. Cartilage is the malleable connective tissue that covers the meeting points of your bones in your joints. For example, where your thigh bone meets your kneecap, they’re joined with cartilage. The purpose of the cartilage is to lubricate your joints.
Unfortunately, cartilage can break down over time. We can see this breakdown on X-rays and other diagnostic tests. While there’s no cure for osteoarthritis, early detection allows us to create a management plan.
Common signs of osteoarthritis include:
If your joints ache, this can be an early sign of osteoarthritis. Your joint pain may be mild or ratchet up to a debilitating level. At first, you may notice it when you walk, climb stairs, or do other physical activities. The pain might feel like a burning sensation in your knees, hips, spine, or other joints and can lead to less mobility.
Does it take a few steps to work out the stiffness once you get up from your bed or a chair? If your joints ever feel locked, or it’s harder to bend down or get in or out of a chair, that’s a sign that you might have osteoarthritis.
Do your joints look swollen? Do they feel warm or tender? Inflammation causes swelling which is your body’s way of repairing damage. However, inflammation can feel uncomfortable.
If you’re experiencing swelling and tender joints, it’s worth making an appointment so Dr. Silva can examine your joints.
Ever hear a crackling sound when you stand up or climb stairs? This can be an audible symptom of osteoarthritis. The sound occurs because your damaged joints rub against each other when you move. It’s often painful too.
While this crackling sound can occur in any of your joints, it’s often most noticeable in your knees and hips because these bear your weight. If you feel grinding or hear crunching noises in your joints, this could be a sign of osteoarthritis.
As your joints break down, they can change shape leading to misalignments or bony growths. Such bony growths are called osteophytes and can stick out around the edges of your joint. Over time, these can grow into deformities that impact your daily life and may even require surgery to remove.
As you can see, osteoarthritis can be a painful condition that interrupts your life. If you feel joint pain or stiffness or notice a decreased range of motion, contact Lakeshore Pain and Spine Center. Dr. Silva can help you create an effective management plan. Call our office or schedule an appointment online today.