Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition. While this condition can be found in joints throughout the body, it occurs most often in the small joints of the fingers, the thumb, neck, lower back, hips, knees, and the big toe.

In normal joints, strong, elastic cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage not only provides a cushion between the bones, but it also creates a smooth surface for joint motion. Osteoarthritis causes this cartilage to breaks down, causing chronic inflammation, pain and difficulty moving the affected joint. In the final stages, the cartilage wears away until bone rubs against bone causing joint damage and increased pain.

Although osteoarthritis can be found in patients of all ages, it is most common in people over the age of 65. Common risk factors include genetics, age, obesity, joint injury and weak muscles. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the morning or after resting. Joints affected by osteoarthritis may swell, especially after prolonged activity.

Many patients are under the misconception that the effects of osteoarthritis are an inevitable part of old age. However, the specialists at Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can create a treatment plan for the symptoms of osteoarthritis that hinder work, social life and family time. Moreover, proactive treatment can prevent joint damage, control pain and preserve flexibility.