What is the main cause of Osteoarthritis?

By  , Expert Content
Jan 19, 2013

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Joint is the place where two or more different bones meet. The joint helps to move the parts of the body connected there by bones like elbow joint allows the forearm to move up and down.


[Read: Osteoarthritis Treatment]


What causes osteoarthritis: The joints experience a constant low level of damage due to the stress and strain, but the body can usually repair the damage and hence you don’t experience any joint symptoms. If the damage in and around the joint cannot be repaired satisfactorily changes of osteoarthritis (OA) starts. The injury causes inflammation in the joint itself or within the bone and the cartilage (the protective surface round the bones that allows your joints to move smoothly). Slowly the changes and damage progresses and the symptoms of OA, such aspain, swelling around the joint become evident. The changes which occur in the bone and cartilage include narrowing of the space between the joint (articular surface), formation of osteophytes, cyst formation, and hardening of the underlying bone. If fluid collection occurs in the joints due to inflammation, it can cause them to swell up.These changes can be seen on X-rays, MRI scan and CT scan.


[Read: Signs and Symptoms of Osteoarthritis]


Contributory factors for OA: The exact cause of breakdown in the repair and healing process that leads to osteoarthritis is not understood. The factors which probably lead to the development of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint injury or disease: If a damaged or injured joint (due to an injury or after an operation) does not get rest and enough time to heal it can lead to osteoarthritis later in life. Several other diseases which affect the joint such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, Paget's disease of bone or septic arthritis can also lead later to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis that occurs due to damage or another condition that affects the joint is known as secondary osteoarthritis. Secondary osteoarthritis can occur even years after the initial damage to your joint.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of osteoarthritis your risk of developing osteoarthritis increases; in fact osteoarthritis can run in families, but the exact gene or genes which increase the risk are not yet known.
  • Being obese: A higher body mass index, increases the risk ofdeveloping osteoarthritis. Being obese/overweight increases the strain on your joints, particularly the weight bearing joints such the knees and hips.


Read more articles on Osteoarthritis.



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