Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint condition, also called wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative arthritis, manifested due to several factors, aging being the most prominent cause.
Osteoarthritis starts with the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. As the cartilage wears down, the bone ends may thicken and form bony growths (spurs). The breakage of cartilage leads to friction between the bones, inducing pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. As a response to damaged cartilage, the body increases the production of synovial fluid to compensate for the diseased joint. The excess fluid can cause the joint to become distended, causing further pain. OA is closely associated with other types of arthritis such as rheumatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriasis arthritis, and others.
There may be a progression from muscle and joint swelling to physical abnormalities and malformations such as genu valgum or paralysis, resulting in unequal load distribution and further wearing out of cartilage, thus intensifying the deformity.
Physical activities and exercise are widely recommended for effective management of various chronic pains and skeletomuscular manifestations as they improve flexibility, impart joint stability and facilitate muscle strength. They form the basis of recuperation and rehabilitation, maintenance of joint and muscle strength, and prevention of progression of clinical conditions. The best-suited exercises for OA include strengthening, aerobic, and a range of movement exercises.
The most effective strategy in acute OA conditions is formulating a suitable treatment plan based on the doctor’s recommendations embracing requisite lifestyle measures and necessary medical support.
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