What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disease that mostly plagues elderly people, but can occur in younger people as a result of joint injuries. It is the most common type of arthritis. The disease targets only your joints, through the loss of cartilage. Cartilage is the tissue that covers the ends of your bones. The tissue is necessary to absorb the shock of your movements. Over time your cartilage wears away, and your bones no longer have the protective barrier to keep them from rubbing together. This kind of bone contact causes swelling, pain, and even loss of motion. In the most severe occurrences, parts of bone or cartilage can break off and float around the joint space. Factors that increase your chances of getting OA include genetics, obesity, previous joint injuries, and joint deformities such as bowlegs. If you experience stiffness during everyday tasks, swelling of joints, or the sound of bones rubbing, you might want to consult with your doctor.

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