What is osteoarthritis (OA)?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects the whole joint including bone, cartilage, ligaments and muscles.
Osteoarthritis treatment can provide relief for sufferers, including management of the following OA symptoms:
- inflammation of the tissue around a joint
- damage to joint cartilage - this is the protective cushion on the ends of your bones that allows a joint to move smoothly
- bony spurs growing around the edge of a joint
- deterioration of ligaments (the tough bands that hold your joint together) and tendons (cords that attach muscles to bones).
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but occurs most often in the knees, hips, finger joints and big toe. OA can develop at any age but tends to be more common in people aged over 40 years or those with joint injuries.
Osteoarthritis is different from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become fragile and brittle, causing them to break more easily.
The symptoms of OA vary from person to person and will also depend on which joints are affected.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
The symptoms of OA vary from person to person. Your symptoms will also depend on which joints are affected. OA tends to come on slowly, over months or even years, with the most common symptoms being pain and stiffness of the joints.
These sensations are usually worse with activity initially but can become more constant as the disease progresses. These symptoms may affect your ability to independently manage normal daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, opening jars and turning taps on. Other symptoms may include clicking noises, grating sensations, or a loss of flexibility in a joint.
Let an osteoarthritis specialist Brisbane can trust help to correctly diagnose your symptoms, starting you on the path to an improved lifestyle.
What causes osteoarthritis?
- Knees: Being overweight; having a previous knee injury; jobs involving kneeling, climbing and squatting.
- Hips: Being overweight; having a prior hip injury; lifting heavy loads; a family history of OA.
- Hands: Previous injuries to the hands; being overweight; a family history of OA.
How is it diagnosed?
The osteoarthritis doctors Brisbane has access to at arthritisCARE will diagnose OA based on your symptoms and a physical examination. An x-ray may also be required to establish the presence of joint damage, but this does not automatically mean you will have any pain or problems. Likewise, your joint may be very painful even if your x-rays are routine and not showing any evidence of wear and tear. Blood tests can also be used to help rule out other types of arthritis.
What will happen to me?
The impact of OA on your everyday lifestyle depends on which joints are affected, but the outlook for most people with OA is positive. In most cases, it will be mild and not cause significant problems. If your hip and knee are affected, this can sometimes restrict your ability to perform your tasks of daily living - both at work and at home. Surgery to replace joints may be necessary; however, this is always only an option if less invasive treatments have failed to control your symptoms.
There is no way of predicting exactly which OA treatment will work best for you as each treatment has its own benefits and risks.
Is there a cure for OA?
Currently, there is no cure for OA. While treatments can effectively control symptoms, you should be wary of products or therapies that claim to cure OA. Speak to an osteoarthritis doctor Brisbane can trust to understand how best to improve your comfort and quality of life.
Treatment for osteoarthritis Brisbane patients can access
Osteoarthritis treatment Brisbane patients can access varies depending on which joints are affected and the severity of your condition. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you, as each has its own benefits and risks.
Your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you. In general terms, the remedies and medication for osteoarthritis Brisbane can access include:
- A weight loss program, if you are overweight
- An exercise program tailored to your condition and ability
- Pain management, using medicines such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), as well as learning to change the way you think about, and react to, pain
- Supportive aids such as braces, walking sticks, and shoe insoles
- Joint replacement surgery, if your symptoms are no longer able to be controlled with other therapies.
What can I do?
See a specialist doctor for osteoarthritis treatment in Brisbane. Our doctors at arthritisCARE will help you access the right treatment to manage your OA symptoms.
Learn about OA and play an active role in your treatment. Not all information you read or hear about is trustworthy, so always talk to your doctor or healthcare team about treatments you are thinking about trying. Reliable sources of further information are also listed in the section at the end of this page.
Learn ways to manage your pain.
Stay active. Exercise is strongly recommended for people with OA. It keeps your joints and muscles healthy and flexible and prevents other health problems. You may also find it useful to see a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for advice.
Adopt a healthy diet. No diet will cure OA, but a diet aimed at maintaining ideal body weight is recommended.
Acknowledge your feelings and seek support. It's natural to feel frustrated and sometimes angry. Get help if these feelings start affecting you or your relationships with others in your home and work life.
Help from the osteoarthritis specialists Brisbane can trust
Contacting the following arthritisCARE Rheumatologists solves the issue of finding an osteoarthritis doctor near me - doctors Brisbane can trust.
- Dr Peter Landsberg MBBS (HONS), FRACP, FRACGP, DIPRACOG
- Dr Louise McCormack BSC, MBBS (HONS), FRACP
- Dr Clare Owens MBBS, BSC, FRACP
- Dr Maryam Zia MBBS, FRACP
To book a consultation with one of these skilled Rheumatologists in Brisbane, contact us today.
Recommended further advice is available from:
Arthritis Australia's Osteoarthritis Resources page
Arthritis Australia's Printable Information Sheet about Osteoarthritis
Booklet: Taking Control of Your Osteoarthritis
Website: MyJointPain - created by Arthritis Australia to provide information to help you relieve the symptoms of joint pain or osteoarthritis (OA) and help you lead a more active and pain-free life.