By T. Nadeau RN


“ A noninflammatory degenerative joint disease marked by degeneration of the articular cartilage, hypertrophy of bone at the margins, and changes in the synovial membrane; called also degenerative joint disease.” (Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health .1983)

In short, osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joints. If the cartilage is broken down the bones rub together and this causes further degeneration and pain .

Osteoarthritis is the most common of all the arthritis family. It affects mostly middle age to older adults and can very in the severity. The joints most affected are the hands, knees, hips, feet and back.

The most common risk factors to developing osteoarthritis are age and obesity. In addition to these risk factors, other causes may be from previous joint injuries and genetics. The method of diagnosing osteoarthritis is usually done by x-ray, physical exam and client history.

The treatment of osteoarthritis may vary depending on the severity, age and general health of the client. Most treatment plans include some form of exercise to improve muscle strength and to help keep joints more pliable. Other additional options are medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. Suggesting a reducing diet if the client is overweight maybe helpful. Other alternatives maybe hot and cold packs for pain relief and as a last resort surgical intervention. Here are a few of the resources in Edmonton pertaining to osteoarthritis :

1) Edmonton Osteoporosis Support Group- offers monthly meetings, information and support. 2) Osteoporosis Clinic- Outpatient department –Grey Nuns Hospital. Multidisciplinary team works to establish comprehensive treatment and management plan. 3) Osteoporosis Exercise Program- Rehab Department-Misericordia Hospital 4) Arthritis Association of Edmonton-self help and information 5) Chronic Pain Association of Canada 6) Steady as You Go Program-A free program focused on fall prevention

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