Several risk factors are associated with osteoarthritis, including heredity, obesity and injury or overuse. Although osteoarthritis affects mostly middle-aged and older adults, it also can begin in younger adults who have injured a joint.
Because osteoarthritis usually develops slowly over many years, many people do not experience symptoms until several years after cartilage breakdown begins.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
- Joint pain and swelling, especially after use or during a change in the weather
- Joint stiffness, especially after sleeping or inactivity
- Bony lumps on the fingers
- Limited joint movement and loss of flexibility
- Grinding of joints when moved (in more advanced stages of osteoarthritis) as the cartilage wears away
Treatment can include one or more of the following: