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Osteoarthritis(OA) or ‘wear and tear’ arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease in which the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones degenerates over time. This may cause the bones in the joints to rub against each other when they move. This ultimately results in pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. Osteoarthritis commonly occurs in weight- bearing joints such as hips, knees (most common) and spine.

Healthy knee, degenerated knee and prosthetic knee

OA is the most common and frequently reported joint disease in India with a prevalence of around 22% to 39%. It is more common in women than in men. Factors such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and sedentary lifestyle contribute to the increasing prevalence of OA. The disability due to arising from pain and decreased joint movement has a negative effect on the quality of life.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The common symptoms of arthritis include:

  1. Pain in the joint: Pain can occur after overuse or after long period of inactivity
  2. Stiffness: It is more evident in the morning after you wake or after prolonged inactivity.
  3. Joint tenderness: Applying slight pressure on the joint may elicit pain.
  4. Decreased range of motion: Owing to pain, you may not be able to move the joint through the entire range.
  5. Grating sensation: You may hear or feel a grating sound when your joint moves.
  6. Bony spurs: Extra bony protuberances can be felt around the joint in the advanced stage of disease.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

If your doctor suspects that you have OA, she may recommend you take the following tests:

  • Laboratory tests: Lab tests are not useful to diagnose OA. However, lab tests can help in distinguishing OA with other forms of arthritis
    1. Joint aspiration: A sample of synovial fluid from the joints is drawn and studied. This test is done to find out if the pain is caused due to gout or joint infection.
    2. Rheumatoid factor(RF): Levels of RF protein in your blood is determined to find out if your symptoms are caused due to rheumatoid arthritis.
    3. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (sed rate or ESR): This test helps to detect inflammation in the body. High ESR would indicate that the patient may have rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Imaging tests:
    1. X-ray: Decreased joint space, bone damage and presence of bony outgrowths on X ray indicate OA. Some people may all these evidences of osteoarthritis on X-ray even before they experience any symptoms
    2. Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI): It gives a detailed image of the joint and the surrounding structures. MRI is useful to evaluate the extent of joint damage.

Management of Osteoarthritis

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. The main aim of treatment for osteoarthritis is- decreasing pain, improving joint mobility and minimizing joint damage.

Home Measures

  1. Exercise: Stretching exercise help in increasing flexibility and joint range of motion. Strength training helps in building muscle which protect the joint from injury.
  2. Lose weight: Obesity stresses your weight bearing joints. Losing weight can help in reducing joint stresses and reduce joint damage.
  3. Arthritis diet: A diet rich in fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, and olive oil helps in reducing inflammation and is good for your joint health.

Medical Management

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: These are most commonly available over the counter drugs. These drugs ease inflammation and relieve pain.
  2. Narcotic pain relievers can be prescribed by the doctor if you have severe pain.
  3. Hyaluronan Injections: Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in joint fluids. It serves as a shock absorber and a joint lubricant. This acid is less in osteoarthritic joints. Hyaluronic injections are injected in the joint and is known to reduce pain for up to 6 months.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy aims in relieving pain and increasing joint range of motion. Using modalities such as contrast baths, wax therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation helps relieve joint pain and prescribing specific exercises help in strengthening the muscles around the joint and improve joint range of motion.

Joint replacement surgery

When other treatments have failed to provide relief for patients with severe OA, surgery is prescribed. Joint replacement involves removal of the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made up of metal and plastic components.

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.


  1. Accessed on 21/10/2017
  2. The Basics of Osteoarthritis. Accessed on 21/10/2017
  3. Accessed on 21/10/2017
  4. Osteoarthritis Testing. Accessed on 21/10/2017
  5. Osteoarthritis treatment. Accessed on 21/10/2017

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