Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) develops in joints as a result of an underlying condition such as trauma, injury, developmental abnormalities, such as hip and elbow dysplasia; infection (e.g.: Lyme’s disease); and obesity. Older patients with osteoarthritis may seem to be slowing down: slow to rise, low energy level, accidents in the house, stiff after exercise, and they may limp on affected limbs. Diagnosis of OA is based on history, physical examination findings, and x-rays. Some patients with more complicated OA may require more extensive testing to rule out other arthritic conditions (e.g.: Lyme disease, rheumatoid arthritis). One of the most important treatments for osteoarthritis is maintaining a healthy body weight. Excess body weight exacerbates the joint inflammation. Medical therapy of osteoarthritis requires a combination of therapies to address pain and decrease inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications relieve acute painful episodes. Long term nutritional supplements, such as glucosamine products and omega-3 fatty acids, have been proven to decrease the amount of anti-inflammatory drugs needed to keep a patient with OA comfortable. Developing a physical therapy and weight loss program for patients with OA is essential to keep the joints mobile and supporting muscles strong.