Conditions InDepth: Osteoarthritis
Articular cartilage is the tissue located at the end of bones. It can deteriorate over time. This causes a common condition called osteoarthritis. It becomes worse over time. It can be debilitating.
Normally, cartilage is the shock absorber in a joint. It absorbs energy from jarring movement, protecting the bone and other tissue in the area. Cartilage is naturally an exceedingly slippery material. It helps the joint glide smoothly. When the cartilage begins to show wear and tear, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed and painful. This makes the joint stiff.
Joints Affected by Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is an extremely common ailment of aging. In fact, it’s the most common joint condition throughout the world. Researchers believe that there are more than 20 million people with osteoarthritis in the US alone. More than half of all people over the age of 65 have arthritis in at least one joint. Researchers think that nearly everyone over the age of 75 has some degree of osteoarthritis. If you’ve had an injury to a joint, you may develop osteoarthritis at a younger age.
Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/ .
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National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/ .
Manek NJ, Lane NE. Osteoarthritis: current concepts in diagnosis and management. American Family Physician . 2000;51(6). Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000315/1795.html.
Last reviewed September 2009 by
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