Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, in which the cartilage that protects the joint is progressively damaged or deteriorates. The bone and ligament of the joint are exposed to damage without the protection of the cartilage, causing inflammation and pain.
Two types of osteoarthritis include primary/idiopathic osteoarthritis that is characterized by localized affliction, or if the causes are identified as age, gender, hereditary and obesity, and secondary osteoarthritis that is caused by trauma in joint cartilage such as direct injury, ailments, or congenital condition.
The early stage of osteoarthritis is accompanied by light pain and slight stiffness in joints. Osteoarthritis will cause aches in the knee from climbing stairs, and create problems in walking downhill.
Progression of osteoarthritis will accompany knee aches regardless of walking and stiffness in joints after sitting for a long time. In particular, cold temperature and high humidity will aggravate the symptoms.
As cartilage in the inner knee wears away, it may cause deformities in legs. Exercising cause increased fatigue as well as increase swelling and pain in the afflicted joints.
Patient will also report joint stiffness in the morning due to long period of inactivity. The stiffness will improve over time, but the afflicted joints will create pain as the day progresses with the increased movement. Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis pains can be alleviated with small movements. Early stages of osteoarthritis in fingers are not accompanied by pain, unlike knees. In rare cases of severe inflammation, joints of the fingers may turn red, feel warm, and movement will cause acute pain.
Bony enlargements at the end joint of the fingers may form.
Complete erosion of cartilage will expose bones to rub together, resulting in bone damage. Even if the bones are not directly damaged, leading a sedentary lifestyle to avoid joint pains will result in muscles of afflicted areas to atrophy.
The direct causes of primary(idiopathic) osteoarthritis are not yet known but some factors such as age, gender, obesity, and localized joint area may increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis development.
The causes of secondary osteoarthritis are direct injury, ailments, or congenital condition that may have affected the joint cartilage. Some examples are damaged joint cartilage from bacterial arthritis or tuberculosis arthritis; severe trauma or mild yet repetitive injury.
However, diagnosis of secondary osteoarthritis may not be accompanied by identification of direct causes, and exposure of same factors may not necessarily cause osteoarthritis for everyone. The distinction of primary and secondary osteoarthritis is not absolute.