Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage and other structures in your joints deteriorate and change over time. As your body tries to repair the damage, your joints may become inflamed, leading to pain, stiffness, and loss of motion. The risk of getting osteoarthritis increases as you age, but obesity, a family history of osteoarthritis, a previous joint injury, and repetitive stress on the joint are also contributing factors. If you experience joint discomfort that limits your ability to be active, it is time to see a provider.
If you have pain and stiffness in your knees, hips, hands, or other joints that interfere with your daily activities, you could have osteoarthritis. Although the condition can’t be cured, a variety of nonsurgical treatments are available to help you manage your pain, improve your mobility, and slow the progression of arthritis so you can get back to enjoying life.
When to See a Doctor for Osteoarthritis
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Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, including the spine, but is most common in the knees, hands, and hips. It is diagnosed with a physical exam of your joints. X-rays may be used to confirm that there is no other reason for your symptoms. If left untreated, osteoarthritis can put you at risk for falls or other complications. The earlier you are diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment to relieve your symptoms.
Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our orthopaedics program is nationally ranked, and the highest ranked program in North Carolina, according to U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.