Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition characterized by the degeneration of the cartilage in the joints due to aging and wear and tear, causing pain, stiffness and functional incapacity.
Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints. It allows bones to glide over one another. When the cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub together. This often causes the pain, swelling, and stiffness of OA.
Cartilage is found in the cervical and lumbar spine, the shoulder, the joints of the fingers, hip, knees and toes (especially the big toe). As the osteoarthritis worsens, bone spurs (osteophytes) or additional bone material around the joint can form. The muscles and ligaments around the joints can become weaker and stiffer.
The main cause of osteoarthritis is not known but there are certain factors such as obesity, certain types of jobs and activities, heredity, race, excessive physical exercise among others that increase the risk of developing it.
Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative disorder of the hip, a ball-and-socket joint in the pelvis. A healthy hip moves easily thanks to cartilage, a firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of bones in normal joints. The primary function of cartilage is to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a “”shock absorber”” for the hip. Osteoarthritis wears away this cartilage, and over time, the cartilage deteriorates and becomes rough. When the cartilage is completely worn away, the bones rub together and cause friction. To compensate for the loss of cartilage, the damaged bones begin to grow and form painful spurs.
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