Osteoarthritis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Affecting mostly middle-aged and older adults, osteoarthritis of the hip and knee is primarily a long-term, degenerative joint disease that can cause significant pain, swelling and mobility issues. As with many kinds of arthritis, your joints wear down over time and lose the smooth “cushioning” cartilage that prevents your bones from rubbing against each other. Eventually, the joint can wear to the point that it no longer works or moves as it should.
The primary cause of osteoarthritis is age. As you get older, your risk increases from the general wear and tear of everyday movement.
Hip and knee osteoarthritis can also occur in younger people as a result of injury, infection, obesity and physically demanding occupations.
Symptoms of hip and knee arthritis include:
- Pain that increases with activity
- Feeling of warmth in the joint
- Decrease in mobility
- Creaking or crackling sounds heard when the knee moves
Osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed by an abnormal x-ray showing characteristic features of narrowing joints and/or bone and cartilage damage. Your provider will also complete a physical examination to determine further information regarding the source and severity of function and mobility.
Depending on your symptoms, there are a number of medical treatments and home remedies available to provide comfort and alleviate pain, including:
- Rest and joint care
- Use of a brace or cane
- Weight loss
- Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Alternative therapies