Often called degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints. This problem occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.
The most common presenting symptom is stiffness of one or more joints first thing in the morning, or after resting. Pain is also often associated. Swelling after a lot activity is also a symptom. Patients also report having bony prominences at the affected joints which they can feel through the skin.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Reduction in cartilage covering the ends of bones at joints is what causes pain associated with arthritis. Certain things put patients at a higher risk for this cartilage loss.
How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
Doctors will clinically exam their patients as well as take a full history of the symptoms. Diagnostic imaging is then utilized to look for bony changes related to OA. Xray imaging often shows “joint mice” which are tiny piece of bone floating in osteoarthritic joints. Bony proliferation can also be seen on xray.
OA cannot at this time be reversed. It can be managed with medications (NSAIDS, Tylenol) and other conservative treatment options such as physical therapy.
When pain cannot be controlled conservatively, more invasive treatment is warranted.
If you are suffering from symptoms of osteoarthritis in your feet, see one of the licensed podiatrists at Innovative Foot and Ankle. We have 4 New Jersey office locations in Essex County, Union County, Hudson County and Bergen County.