Osteoarthritis is often seen as a sign of getting older, and is accepted as part of the process by many people. As many as 27 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis, also sometimes called degenerative joint disease, is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilages, and is often seen first in the knees. When the cartilage breaks down bones rub against each other, and become very painful. The result is often painful and the person often experiences stiffness, and the joint does not move as well as it used to.
The first thing a person may notice is that their joints are loosing the elasticity they once had. This may cause the person to become injured more easily. This change to the cartilage then causes the bone under the cartilage to become thicker. Often these bones develop spurs. Then tiny pieces of the bone or cartilage begin to float around the inside of the joint, causing the joint to become inflamed.
Osteoarthritis can be caused by a number of factors. Older people are more apt to suffer from osteoarthritis than younger people, although doctors are starting to see the disease more often in younger people, especially those who exercise without proper form. People who are overweight are at a higher chance of getting osteoarthritis, as are those who stand continually, such as sales clerks and factory workers. Those who have a parent who suffered from osteoarthritis are also at a higher rate of suffering from the disease themselves. The last factor is injury of the joint, perhaps even years before. Osteoarthritis is caused by several factors, including age, weight, amount of time spent on the feet, genetics and injuries. The first sign of osteoarthritis is a loss of elasticity in the joint, which causes the bone under the cartilage to become thicker often developing spurs, which break off causing even more pain.