About Osteoarthritis (OA)

It is well known that osteoarthritis, chondromalacia patellae and meniscus tears are all diseases of the joint, not just a basic loss of cartilage [42]. Osteoarthritis begins as the cartilage in between your bones starts to wear. During this time, the area will become irritated and lightly inflamed. Inflammation induces pain, and pain is how we know there is some form of damage. It is evident that pain restricts movement but movement is necessary to have a health joint structure. As the individual restricts movement due to pain, the supporting structures such as muscles and tendons become weaker and lose their flexibility.

As time passes, arthritis naturally only gets worse. The cartilage becomes thinner and inflammation becomes a larger issue. Inflammation can be destructive, it creates a hostile environment within the joint. Unfortunately this hostility reflects on the blood vessels, bursa sacks, synovial membrane and other tissues within the joint. Further down the track the degenerative changes become much more apparent until joint structures start to fail such as cartilage, ligament or tendon tears and even complete diminishing of cartilage within the joint.

The picture below highlights some of the damage your joints will take once arthritis sets in.


Image ref: healthline.com

This is the overview as to why osteoarthritis is considered a very complex joint disease not simple wearing of cartilage.

Osteoarthritis pain remains a major source of distress and disability within Australia. OA disabilities are expected to increase as our populations continue to age [2] and OA is considered as one of the most significant causes of disability, not just within Australia but around the whole world [6].

Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease and osteoarthrosis, is a disease characterised by pain in the joints (i.e. hips, knees and other joints). Literally translated as ‘inflammation of the joints’, osteoarthritis is part of the family of diseases known as arthritis, which refers to 100 various diseases. Osteoarthritis commonly causes disability, with the joint cartilage breaking down and causing painful and stiff joints. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are effective treatment options available, including osteoarthritis knee pain relief using stem cell therapy.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms include pain, painful use of the joint, painful periods after the joint has been used, joint discomfort during significant changes in the weather, swelling in a joint, stiffness of the joint, bony lumps in the hand and finger joints, and a decreased amount of joint flexibility. Symptoms may vary in severity depending on the joint affected. For instance, arthritis of the hip may cause much more pain and restrict movement more than arthritis of the shoulder.

Osteoarthritis can strike many joints in our body. The areas that bear a lot of stress such as the hip, spine or knee are very common.

Who is at Risk?

The main risk factors for osteoarthritis include gender (osteoarthritis strikes more females than male) and age (osteoarthritis is typically found in people over 45 years of age). Joint injuries can also lead to the condition, with osteoarthritis in the knee often caused by injury – especially those related to sports. Other risk factors include obesity, diseases that cause malformations or disfigurement of the bone structure, weakened quadriceps, and other forms of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis Treatment Options

You can view the list of treatment options for osteoarthritis on this page.

All references can be found in our list of references page here.