Arthritis - osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. In this disorder, a joint loses cartilage, the slippery material that cushions the ends of bones, over time.
As a result, the bone beneath the cartilage changes and develops bony overgrowth. The tissue that lines the joint can become inflamed, the ligaments can loosen, and the muscles around the joint can weaken. The patient feels pain and movement limitations when using the joint.
Joints provide flexibility, support, stability, and protection. Specific parts of the joint: the synovium and cartilage, provide these functions.
Synovium. The synovium is the tissue that lines a joint. Synovial fluid is a lubricating fluid that supplies nutrients and oxygen to cartilage.
Cartilage. The cartilage is a slippery tissue that coats the ends of the bones. Cartilage is composed of four components:
The combination of collagen mesh and water forms a strong and slippery pad in the joint. This pad cushions the ends of the bones in the joint during muscle movement.
Deterioration of Cartilage. Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage in a joint deteriorates. The process is usually slow.
Complicating the process are abnormalities in the bone around arthritic joints. As the body tries to repair damage to the cartilage, problems can develop:
Unlike some other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is less likely to involve many joints around the body or migrate around one joint to another. Rather, it affects one or several joints, often joints that have received extra wear. Osteoarthritis affects joints differently depending on their location in the body.
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