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Osteoarthritis – symptoms, causes, risk and other complications

The most common form or arthritis is osteoarthritis. This type of disease is affecting millions of people all around the world. Osteoarthritis is happening when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. This condition can affect any joint in your body but it most commonly affects joints in your spine, hips, knees and hands. The symptoms of osteoarthritis can be effectively managed but the underlying process cannot be reversed. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and other treatments can slow the progression of osteoarthritis and they can help to improve the joint function and pain. There are some cases when the osteoarthritis is called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. This disease is affecting approximately 27 million Americans [1].

Symptoms of osteoarthritis

Symptoms of this condition often develop slowly and they worsen over time. Here are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis:

  • Bone spurs: Bone spurs are extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, may form around the affected joint.
  • Grating sensation: You may hear or feel a grating sensation when you use the joint.
  • Loss of flexibility: When you have this condition, you may not be able to move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Stiffness: Joint stiffness may be most noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • Tenderness: Your joint may feel tender when you apply light pressure to it.
  • Pain: Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
  • Clicking or cracking sound when a joint bends
  • Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day
  • Mild swelling around a joint
  • Limited range of motion or stiffness that goes away after movement

Osteoarthritis symptoms causes


Osteoarthritis pain, swelling or stiffness can make difficult for you to do the everyday activities at work and home. If you have joint pain or stiffness which does not go away, then you should talk with your doctor about your problem.

Causes: This condition is happening when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints gradually deteriorates. Cartilage is a firm and slippery tissue which permits nearly functionless joint motion. When you have osteoarthritis, then the slick surface of the cartilage becomes rough. Eventually, if the cartilage wears down completely, then you may be left with bone rubbing on bone.

Risk factors: Here are some factors which can increase your risk of osteoarthritis:

  • Deformities of your bones: We know that there are some people who are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. [2]
  • Genetics: There are some people who inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis. [3]
  • Certain jobs and occupations: If you work a job which is including tasks that place repetitive stress on a particular joint, then your joint may eventually develop osteoarthritis.
  • Joint injuries: Injuries which are happening from an accident or when playing sports, they can increase your risk of osteoarthritis. Also the injuries which have happened many years ago and you think that they healed, they can also increase your risk of osteoarthritis. [4]
  • Obesity: When you carry extra body weight, then this contributes to osteoarthritis in many ways. The more you weigh the greater risk you have of developing osteoarthritis. When you have an increased weight, then this put added stress on weight – bearing joints such as your knees and hips. Also the fat tissue is producing proteins which may cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints. [5]
  • Sex: It is known fact that women have increased chances of having osteoarthritis compared to men but why this happens it is not clear. [6]
  • Older age: The risk of developing osteoarthritis is increasing as we are getting older.

Complications: This is a degenerative disease which can worsen over time. Joint stiffness and pain can become severe enough to make your everyday tasks difficult. There are some people who suffer from osteoarthritis and they are no longer able to work. When your joint pain is so severe, then your doctor can suggest joint replacement surgery. There is not cure for this condition but there are many treatments which can help you not to worsen the symptoms of osteoarthritis. You should always talk with your doctor about your best natural treatment, lifestyle changes or medications.


[1] Neogi T. The epidemiology and impact of pain in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013;21(9):1145–53.

[2] Mobasheri A, Batt M. An update on the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis. Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. 2016;59(5-6):333-9.

[3] Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Genetic study reveals possible new routes to treating osteoarthritis: Scientists discover new genes and biological pathways linked to osteoarthritis, which could help identify starting points for new medicines. Science Daily. 2019. Retrieved from

[4] University of Eastern Finland. Why knee joint injury leads to osteoarthritis. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2018. Retrieved from

[5] Raud B, Gay C, Guiguet-Auclair C, et al. Level of obesity is directly associated with the clinical and functional consequences of knee osteoarthritis. Scientific Reports. 2020.

[6] Contartese D, Tschon M, De Mattei M, Fini M. Sex specific determinants in osteoarthritis: A systematic review of preclinical studies. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020;21:3696.

Pardhan Singh
Pardhan Singh
A seasoned natural therapist with degree in Ayurvedic Medicine (BAMS) successful in treating various diseases through Ayurvedic treatments. You can contact Pradhan at [email protected]



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