Osteoarthritis or Osteoarthrosis is the most common disorder of joints and is estimated to be present in 80 to 90 percent of people over the age of 60 years. It is characterized by gradual destructionof the central part of the cartilage lining the affected joint whilst at the same time there is overgrowth of the outer part of the cartilage which ultimately results in the growth of the bony spurs or osteophytes. The condition is probably a degenerative one, but it is accentuated or accelerated by trauma. Thus, it is liable to occurin a knee in which there has been cartilage trouble which has not been treated adequately. Obesity, accompanied as it so often is by faulty posture, results in abnormal stresses and strains being applied to the hip joints and knees, and this in due course results in osteoarthritic changesin these joints. There is some evidence that there may be a hereditary predisposition. The condition is more common in women than in men, and the joints mainly involved are the hip, the knee and the shoulder joint. The terminal joints of the fingers are also quite a common site.
Symptoms – pain and stiffness in the affected joints are the usual manifestations of the disease. A creaking sensation(creapitus) is felt in moving the joint in the more advanced cases. In chronic cases the joint becomesenlarged. There is seldom any generalized disturbance such as fever or malaise. The diagnosis is confirmed by X-ray examination.