Know about Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease in which all the structures of joints have undergone pathological changes, usually all at the same time. The main pathology is loss of articular cartilage. The loss of articular cartilage is accompanied by pathological changes in other structure involving joints, such as increasing thickness and sclerosis of the subchondral bony plate, overstretching of the articular capsule outgrowth of osteophytes, meniscal degeneration mild synovitis, and weakness of muscles which bridge the joints.

Among all types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. The disease is highly prevalent, especially among elderly people and cause disability among elderly and one of the leading causes of disability among elderly. In most developed countries the number and percentage of aged people is increasing and obesity (a major risk factor of osteoarthritis along with age) is highly prevalent in developed countries and both these factors are contributing to increased prevalence and rise in incipience of osteoarthritis. It is estimated that in the United States the prevalence of osteoarthritis among elderly will increase from 66-100% by the year 2020.

Osteoarthritis affect some particular joints, while spare other joints. The most commonly affected joints in osteoarthritis include hip, knee, cervical and lumbosacral spine, first metatarsal phalangeal joint, the distal and proximal interphalangeal joints of hands and metacarpal phalangeal joint of thumbs. The joints which are spared from osteoarthritis include wrist, elbow, and ankle joints.

Joints that are involved in pincer grip in the hands and weight bearing joints of legs commonly develop osteoarthritis, but the weight bearing ankle joints are spared, may be due to articular cartilage of ankle joints are uniquely resistant to loading stresses.

There may be several mechanisms which cause osteoarthritis, but the most common mechanism is probably joint injury, which initiate osteoarthritic changes.

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