Osteoarthritis (OA) causes inflammation in the joints and the breakdown and gradual loss of joint cartilage. As the cartilage wears down, a person experiences pain and difficulty with movement.
OA is a common joint disorder. It develops in the hand, for example, in 1 in 12 people over the age of 60, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
OA is a progressive disease, which means that symptoms worsen over time.
There is no cure, but treatment can help manage pain and swelling and keep a person mobile and active.
OA leads to pain and stiffness in the joints.
In the early stages, a person may have no symptoms. Symptoms may occur in one or more joints, and they tend to appear gradually.
When symptoms develop, they can include:
pain and stiffness that worsen after not moving the joint for a while
difficulty moving the affected joint
warmth and tenderness in the joints
a loss of muscle bulk
a grating or crackling sound in the joint, known as crepitus
The progression of OA involves:
synovitis — mild inflammation of the tissues around the joints
damage and loss of cartilage
bony growths that form around the edges of joints