What is Osteoarthritis (OA)?
Arthritis is a condition caused by wear or injury to hyaline cartilage which lines bone at joint spaces. It can occur due to ageing of the joint, trauma or sport wear and tear.
Is OA a disease or is it hereditary?
Osteoarthritis is not a systemic disease and is not strictly speaking hereditary. It does tend to be more common with age / injury and may run in families.
How do I know if I have osteoarthritis?
OA is usually associated with some pain and occasionally swelling often resulting in some stiffness and reduced range of motion. Arthritis is a progressive disease and may ultimately lead to 'bone on bone' contact which is generally the last or end stage of the disease.
What treatments are available?
There is no cure for osteoarthritis but there is effective management.
- Weight loss is often very helpful - allowing for less stress through the joints. A dietitian can help with this along with introducing foods which may reduce inflammatory markers in the body.
- Physiotherapy is the cornerstone of management by working on strengthening around the joint, improving the range of motion, reducing pain and decreasing swelling.
- Drugs such as anti-inflammatories are often used (frequently overused) along with acetaminophen. In the long term anti-inflammatories are not considered safe and should be replaced by recommended doses of acetaminophen. Many proprietary brands of glucosamine and other mild anti-inflammatories are available and may or may not help.
- Joint Injections have found favor over the last 15 years and, in the right hands, are a moderately effective safe form of management. These include hyaluronic acid preparations ( Synvisc, Durolane,Monovisc, Orthovisc ....and others ), platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cells. Cortisone may be used sparingly . The injections may be done with or without ultrasound/X-ray guidance depending on the joint involved.
- Joint Replacement is a last resort management and is considered when all else no longer helps.
At TSC we can provide all levels of treatment helpful to this condition.
Please consult with one of our physicians or therapists to establish what might best suit your current condition.
Many treatments are covered under extended health benefits. All physician consults are covered under OHIP.