Osteoarthritis: Causes, Diagnosis and Symptoms

Osteoarthritis Causes

There are many causes of osteoarthritis. It can cause by deterioration of the cartilage in the joint. The cartilage is most affected by this disease. The ends of bones in a joint are covered by the cartilage. It may also cause by familial chondrocalcinosis, fracture of bone and aseptic necrosis of bone. The joints of the knees, spine, hands and hips are affected by this disease.

Cartilage anatomy

Types of osteoarthritis

  • Primary osteroarthritis: Age is the main cause of this type of the disease.
  • Secondary osteroarthritis: The breakdown of cartilage may develop to heredity, injury, obesity and others factors.

Risk factors for osteoarthritis

Age: Age is the main risk factor of osteoarthritis. “wear and tear” plays the main role in the development and progression of the disease.

Injury or overuse: People, who are working as typing, machine operating and landscaping at a higher risk of getting of osteoarthritis due to increase stress or injury on certain joints. It can also associate where surgery and bones have been fractured. Therefore, it is very necessary for athletes to take precautions to avoid injury. Patients should do moderate exercise regular for strengthens the joint.

Elderly woman suffering from pain in knee at home

Muscle weakness: Muscles weakness around the knee can develop osteoarthritis. Patients must do exercises for thigh muscles daily to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

Obesity: Obesity or increased body weight is a serious risk factor for osteoarthritis, especially in the knee joint. It plays an important role for developing osteoarthritis.


Heredity or genetics: Osteoarthritis can be developed by heredity, especially in the joints of hands. For example, it is most found in a bowlegged person. In some cases, being double jointed and increased laxity at high risk of getting osteoarthritis.

Other diseases and types of arthritis: People who are suffered from rheumatoid arthritis have a greater chance of associating osteoarthritis. Excess growth of hormone or acromegaly, has adverse affects on the joints and the bones and can develop the disease.


Other medical diseases that can develop osteoarthritis

  • Disorders like avascular necrosis, in which the blood supply block near the joint.
  • Health diseases that cause iron build-up in the joints like hemochromatosis.
  • Bleeding disorders such as hemophilia that develop bleeding in the joint.
  • Complications of inflammatory arthritic diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, chronic gout or pseudogout

The following are other health conditions that cause the disease:

  • Gout
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Joint injury
  • Lupus

Osteoarthritis Diagnosis and Symptoms

How osteoarthritis is diagnoses?

There is no blood test performed by the doctor to determine the disease. It can be used in case of exclude conditions that can cause secondary osteoarthritis. X-rays of the affected area will be suggested by the health care providers to diagnose the disease. X-rays may help to find of osteoarthritis such as narrowing of the joint space between adjacent bones, bone spur formation and loss of joint cartilage.

mri test for osteoarthritis

Arthrocentesis is also very useful to detect the osteoarthritis. It can perform only in the doctor’s office. The doctor uses a sterile needle to remove joint fluid, during arthrocentesis. Analysis of joint fluid is very effective in infection, excluding gout and other reasons of arthritis. During arthrocentesis, injection of corticosteroids and removal of joint fluid into the joints can help swelling, inflammation and relieve pain.

Arthroscopy is recommended by the doctor to diagnose osteoarthritis. In this technique, a viewing tube is inserted into the space between joints by the doctor. Damage to the cartilage, ligaments and abnormalities of the disease will be detected.

Therefore, a successful analysis of the character of the symptoms, location and duration may help the health care providers to diagnose the disease. In some cases, bunions of the feet, Bouchard’s nodes and Heberden’s nodes can help the health care providers to determine of osteoarthritis.

Bouchard’s nodes and Heberden’s nodes

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Pain in the affected joints is the main symptoms of the disease. There can be warmth, swelling and creaking in the joints after a few days. Stiffness and severe pain can also occur after some activities such as sitting for long periods. Other symptoms of this disease include joint dysfunction, pain and limping.

Osteoarthritis of the spine may cause low back or pain in the back. Bony spurs can irritate spinal nerves and causing numbness, tingling, and severe pain of the affected area of the body.

Senior man with osteoarthritis pain in the knee

Other signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:  

  • Pain decreased in the joint by resting.
  • Mild to severe pain in the affected joint, especially after long periods of the activities. This disease is mostly affected hip, spine, knee or hand.
  • When the joint is stressed, it may increase the pain.
  • Stiffness such as putting on shoes, walking, opening a jar, climbing stairs or leaning down to pick something up.
  • Weakness in muscles around the affected area.
  • Joints may be red, inflamed or swollen.

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