What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis refers to the process of degeneration of protective cartilages around the bones. A cartilage is a firm and slippery tissue that enables smooth and frictionless motion in the joints of the body. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it can damage any joint in the body, mostly the hands, knees, hips, and spinal cord.

The cause and the process underlying the formation of osteoarthritis cannot be reversed. However, the symptoms can be managed effectively by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Osteoarthritis symptoms develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Stiffness.
  • Pain.
  • Inflexibility.
  • Bone spurs.
  • Grating sensations.


Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilages deteriorate and wear off, and that happens when the sleek surface of the cartilage becomes rough. There could be some factors that increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis. They are:

  • Age factor.
  • Gender factor.
  • Weight factor.
  • Injury factor.
  • Occupational factor.
  • Genetic factor.
  • Congenital factors.


The prime risk factors include:

  • Old age.
  • Joint injuries.
  • Obesity.
  • Genetics.
  • Bone deformities.


  • Weight control.
  • Adequate exercising.
  • Avoiding injuries and getting them treated.
  • Eating right.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor may use many diagnostic tools to diagnose Osteoarthritis. To name a few: 


How is it treated?

The most effective means of treating osteoarthritis is to change your lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly is the key to relieving pain. At Medanta, drug therapy and physical therapy are recommended to ease movements a..

  • Drug therapy

    Medications might be required to mitigate pain in those areas with mild and moderate pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are administered to reduce inflammation of joints. As excessive dosage of medicine could result in stomach, heart, liver, and kidney related problems, it is always recommended to consult a specialist and take prescribed dosage.

  • Physical therapy

    An individualistic exercise plan can be framed by your physical therapist to assist you in strengthening your muscles and increasing the movement of joints. Gentle exercises like walking and stretching can be very effective.

  • Occupational therapy

    You could avail the services of an occupational therapist, to assist you in simplifying your everyday tasks. For example, if you have Osteoarthritis in your knees, you could be advised to sit while taking a shower instead of standing. If you have Osteoarthritis in your fingers, it could be easier for you to hold a toothbrush with a larger handle rather than a smaller one.

  • Yoga therapy

    With the gentle exercises and deep breathing involved in Yoga, you can reduce the pain and swelling of your joints.

  • Injection therapy

    Cortisone and lubrication injections may be used to relieve pain by supplying cushioning effect in the affected joint.

  • Surgical therapy

    In the surgical procedure called osteotomy, your surgeon would cut across the bone, and adds or removes a wedge of bone. This would aid in shifting of the body weight away from the worn out joint. This method is also called realignment of bones. In another procedure, called arthroplasty, damaged joint surfaces are replaced with plastic or metal substitutes. Because surgical repair is risky and involves wear out and eventual replacement of the joint, surgical therapy is recommended as the ultimate resort.

When do I contact the doctor

You should immediately see a doctor if you experience any pain in the joints, rash over any part of the body, any mid joint symptoms, or side effects from the medication. These symptoms might altogether worsen your condition, if proper care is not taken. 

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