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What is Osteoarthritis?

That frequent pain you feel in your knee, back or hip may be more than just a change in the weather; it may be an indication of a severe arthritic condition known as osteoarthritis (OA).

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder and the most common form of arthritis found in adults. It’s currently estimated that as many as 30 million men and women in America are living with joint pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage in the joints wears away, leaving nothing to cushion the friction between your joints when you move. It can occur in any joint in the body, but it most frequently appears in the hand, knee and hip joints. Osteoarthritis can affect men and women of all ages, but it’s predominantly found in adults age 50 and older, especially among women of that age.

Research shows that osteoarthritis is not just an inevitable part of aging nor is it just the result of living a long and active life, but rather the result of a complex combination of factors, including: 

  • Age – OA becomes more common as people age. The reason why OA occurs more often in older individuals isn’t exactly clear, but studies show age as a significant and common factor in joint tissue and cartilage degeneration.
  • Weight and obesity – Being overweight places excess stress on weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees and ankles.
  • Genetic predisposition – Genetics are a strong determinate for a person being at risk for developing osteoarthritis. Certain genes make some individuals more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis. If either of your parents had OA in his or her lifetime, it could place you at risk for developing it as well.
  • Previous injuries - Injuries, such as an old sports injuries and joint trauma, can lead to OA, even years after the injury has occurred and has healed.
  • Chronic overuse – Occupations that require frequent repetitive movements — including bending and squatting for long periods of time — can increase the risk of developing OA due to the stress these movements place on the joints over time.

Other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and poor alignment in the hips, knees and ankle joints can also contribute to a person developing osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is painful condition. If left unchecked it, can become a debilitating issue that keeps you away from many of the activities you enjoy. Although there is no one root cause for osteoarthritis, the best defense is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Speak to your primary care provider about other ways to prevent or treat osteoarthritis.

If you are suffering from joint pain, Tanner Ortho and Spine Center offers advanced treatments, including joint replacement procedures using the Stryker Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery system, which allows for more precise joint replacement procedures than ever before, with more consistent outcomes and more comfortable recoveries. Tanner Ortho and Spine Center is also holds The Joint Commission’s Disease-specific Care Certification for knee and hip replacement procedures, and is recognized as a Blue Distinction Center by Blue Cross, Blue Shield. You can request an appointment for a joint pain evaluation online at TannerOrtho.org or by calling 678-582-2891.

Learn more about osteoarthritis, arthritis and more in the online Health Library at tanner.org.

Orthopedic and Spine Care

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