Osteoarthritis is one of many subcategories of the disease called arthritis. It is the most frequent of these and can affect many areas of the body such as the intervertebral discs, lumbar vertebrae or lower limbs, causing various conditions such as headaches, knee pain, joint pain, mild to moderate pain, neck stiffness, cervicobrachial neuralgia, etc. Of the different forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis has the particularity of attacking the joint as a whole, damaging the cartilage that is protecting the bones. The latter, faced with the disappearance of the cartilage, will see their extremities thicken and small bumps or thorns will then appear. Fortunately, there are solutions to fight this type of arthritis and to live better with this condition on a daily basis.
How to know if you have osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis manifests itself in a variety of ways, but generally, the joint movement will be painful, regardless of the joint affected by osteoarthritis. It is important to distinguish between osteoarthritis and arthritis. Osteoarthritis really attacks the cartilage, the soft, smooth tissue between the bones of the joints. Thus, osteoarthritis is manifested by the appearance of knee pain, for example, during the practice of a sport or other physical activity.
Knee problems are one of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, as are pain during joint movements. It is also possible that the affected joints may be swollen and there may be a feeling of heat or stiffness in these areas. However, these symptoms are not a dead end, it is quite possible to relieve the pain caused by osteoarthritis and the other unpleasant consequences of this condition.
What are the different types of osteoarthritis
While we often talk about osteoarthritis, there are in fact several forms of it, although they all systematically involve the movement of the joints:
- Knee osteoarthritis: Of all knee conditions, knee osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting about 65% of people aged 65 and over. It is a disease that causes the progressive deterioration of the joint cartilage. The main symptoms are a pain when walking, walking up and downstairs, stiffness and swelling of the joint.
- Osteoarthritis of the foot and ankle: Generally, between the ages of 40 and 50, people experience more pain and their mobility is often affected. The condition is often accompanied by deformities that can be unpleasant and very painful. When the ankle is affected, the joint cartilage deteriorates and generates pain during movement. In both cases, stiffness, inflammation and difficulty walking are observed.
- Shoulder osteoarthritis: More rare, shoulder osteoarthritis can be recognized by certain symptoms such as pain during exercise when lifting a weight or grabbing an object. The simple pressure of a bag loop can trigger pain.
How to relieve osteoarthritis
Consulting with a health professional is essential not only to diagnose osteoarthritis but also to determine a treatment for osteoarthritis that is appropriate for each person’s particular situation. Treatment also differs according to the degree of importance (mild, moderate or severe osteoarthritis). There are, in fact, different options a doctor has to advise you on how to find the best treatment for osteoarthritis according to your situation.
In the event of osteoarthritis causing particularly severe pain in the hands, knees or shoulders, specialists may offer pain medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or joint ointment. These drugs will not treat osteoarthritis per se but will limit inflammation and pain associated with it.
Exercise and diet
Several exercises can relieve osteoarthritis pain by gently moving the joints. In addition, to reduce knee pain, it may be advisable to alternate cold and hot compresses. For example, to relieve back pain related to osteoarthritis, it may be recommended to perform certain exercises at home that involve the large dorsal muscle. Simply rounding the back relieves the lumbar vertebrae by opening them, which prevents injuries and pain in the lower back.
Another key element in the treatment of osteoarthritis is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is sometimes recommended to lose weight or monitor your diet to limit their impact on joints. The doctor can tell you what foods to avoid in the case of osteoarthritis.
There are various options available to support you in the treatment of osteoarthritis. These avenues are divided into major alternatives: rehabilitation and orthotics. Rehabilitation will allow a gentle joint movement to be achieved to improve arthrosis problems. Exercises with the support of a physiotherapist or physiotherapist can also help relieve osteoarthritis. In addition, it is also possible to choose an orthosis to relieve various parts of your body.
By improving the biomechanics of the joint affected by osteoarthritis, the knee brace reduces pain by reducing the weight carried by the most damaged part of the knee. In addition, a custom-made knee osteoarthritis orthosis can lead to a more active life and delay the use of knee replacement surgery! Learn more about knee orthotics.
Validated by Emmanuel Beauchemin, Head clinician at Médicus