What is Osteoarthritis?

What is Osteoarthritis?

July 27, 2016

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, affects more people than any other chronic joint condition.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 27 million Americans suffer from the problem, which can affect any joint.

Osteoarthritis is most often seen in knees, hips, the lower back and neck, the small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toes.

Healthy joints contain cartilage, which is a firm, rubbery material that provides a smooth surface for joint motion and serves as a cushion between the bones. When someone has osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down, resulting in pain, swelling, and difficulty moving a joint.


Osteoarthritis usually worsens over time, often leading to bones breaking down and developing growths called spurs. Chips of bone or cartilage can float around in the joint and cause inflammation, further damaging the cartilage.

In severe cases of osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears away, leaving bone rubbing against bone — an extremely painful condition.

Osteoarthritis statistics

  1. 50% of adults will develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis during their lives.
  2. 25% of adults will develop symptoms of hip osteoarthritis by age 85.
  3. More than 8% of people 60 years or older have hand osteoarthritis.

Pain and stiffness of joints are the most common symptoms, especially in the morning or after resting. Other common symptoms include:

  • sore or stiff joints, especially the hips, knees and lower back
  • limited range of motion that goes away after movement
  • clicking or cracking sounds when a joint bends
  • mild swelling around a joint
  • pain that increases with activity or at the end of the day

People with osteoarthritis may hear or feel a grating sensation when they use an affected joint, according to the Mayo Clinic. The risk increases with age, and women are more prone to experience the symptoms.

According to Arthritis Foundation research, people with osteoarthritis experience as much as 30 percent more falls and have a 20 percent greater risk of fracture. Decreased function, muscle weakness, and impaired balance often accompany the condition.

If you have joint pain or stiffness that doesn’t go away, contact the physicians at Midwest Center for Joint Replacement. Our premier outpatient surgical center offers state-of-the-art treatment for orthopedic patients.

Don’t let the symptoms of osteoarthritis inhibit your life. Our surgeons are national leaders in the innovation of outpatient joint replacement. We offer rapid recovery and comfortable and compassionate care.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

PH: 317-455-1064


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Bloomington, IN 47403

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Midwest Center for Joint Replacement

Midwest Center for Joint Replacement

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