What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is also known as “wear and tear” arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It is the progressive breakdown of your joint’s cartilage (your body’s natural shock absorbers).
When your cartilage breaks down the joint structure can sometimes cause or contribute to symptoms such as pain, swelling or difficulty in moving the joint normally. For example, extra bone may form at the edge of the joint. These bony growths are called osteophytes and can sometimes restrict movement or rub against other tissues. In some joints, especially the finger joints, these may be visible as firm, knobbly swellings.
The lining of the joint capsule (called the synovium) may thicken and produce more fluid than normal, causing the joint to swell.
Tissues that surround the joint and help to support it may stretch so that after a time the joint becomes less stable.
The majority of affected people are over 60 however it can also affect younger people in their 20s and 30s.
How do you know you have osteoarthritis?
Have you ever felt an ache when you bend over your hips or knees?
Do your joints feel stiff or creaky?
How about sore fingers when you type?
These could all be signs of osteoarthritis.
Common joints affected by osteoarthritis
Any weight-bearing joint can be affected by osteoarthritis.
- Lower back
- Small joints of the hands
When you get older or repetitively use specific joints that irritate your cartilage, the friction between the bones becomes more and more causing a reduced range of motion and pain.
What happens if Osteoarthritis is left untreated?
Do you just accept that osteoarthritis is part of the ageing process? Or do you seek to treat it?
Problems appear when those who begin to experience the pain and stiffness ignore it. Ignoring the pain will not make it go away you could be setting yourself up for a much more serious problem down the road.
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis does not affect your organs or make you ill but it can cause certain deformities that reduce your mobility and therefore your quality of life.
If left untreated you could suffer from curved out knees (bow legs) or bony points along the spine which irritate your nerves causing numbness, tingling and pain.
What treatment options do you have if you suffer from osteoarthritis?
There are various options you can explore to manage this condition such as:
- Physical therapy
- Support braces e.g. finger splints, knee braces
- Pain relief medication
- Weight loss
- Low impact exercises such as swimming and walking
If osteoarthritis interferes with your everyday life and your symptoms don’t improve with physical therapy or medication, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy to treat osteoarthritis is your best option before you even consider surgery.
Also known as PRP therapy, this treatment uses your body’s natural regenerative goodness to kick start your healing resulting in:
- Growth of new cartilage
- A slow down in the progression or the condition
- Reduced Inflammation and pain sensation
- Increased lubricating fluid to reduce painful joint friction
This natural treatment is made from your own body without the risks and side effects other treatments have.
If you are suffering from chronic stiffness or pain in your knees, hips or hands, avoid them getting worse. Contact Blend Clinic today and we will answer all of your questions and see if PRP is the right treatment for you.