Osteoarthritis: the symptoms

Pain is not always the symptom of the disease! You can have osteoarthritis, without feeling any pain. It all depends on the people and everything depends on the affected joints. One in three osteoarthritis will consult because his pain or disability is too embarrassing .... This shows that the discomfort is relative. But when we go to consult, it is that we have pain and that the movements are difficult.

Osteoarthritis is essentially pain, more or less acute, not always related to lesions possibly observed on X-rays. This pain is called "mechanical": it is triggered by the movements of the joint and it decreases at rest. Sometimes synovitis is associated with pain, it is an inflammatory flare of the joint, showing a pain poorly calmed by rest and a slight morning stiffness, redness and swelling.

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

  • A pain triggered and aggravated by the movement (when you go up the stairs, knee hurt, when you walk, hurt your hip, when you hold a dish, sore thumb ...).
  • Pain that stops or decreases when the joint is at rest.
  • Less pain in the morning and increasing during the day, to reach its peak in the evening.
  • A pain that can also wake up at night depending on the positions you take or if you are in a crisis of osteoarthritis.
  • Functional discomfort, that is to say a difficulty in using the joint damaged by osteoarthritis.

The problem is that the lesions caused by osteoarthritis are irreversible. They may therefore lead to joint stiffness, more or less disabling.

After a few years, the joint is stiffer, it is more or less deformed, it is particularly noticeable on the small joints of the fingers. Osteoarthritis of the joints of the knees and hips can be disabling and limit movement.

The most affected joints are: the small joints of the fingers, the knees, the thumb (the rhizarthrosis of the thumb), the hip, the spine; other joints are more rarely affected.

60% of people over 50 have anatomic arthritis, 30% have radiological signs (we will see on the radio the traces of osteoarthritis), but only 15% will have pain, and among these 5% will be embarrassed at not go to consult.

On arrival, osteoarthritis is characterized by three types of lesions:

  • The wear of articular cartilage that softens, fissures, thins and ulcerates that can leave the bone bare in places.
  • Achieving the bone beneath the cartilage that tries to adapt by becoming denser and can deform in areas of greater pressure.
  • The formation of so-called "parrot beaks", small bony outgrowths (osteophytes) that develop next to the altered cartilage.

Bursitis or hygroma: kézaco?

You have probably already had bursitis, this inflammation of the serous bursas that protect our joints. Zoom on bursitis in the shoulder, knee or elbow

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