Osteoarthritis is a condition where cartilage (the protective covering over the ends of your bones) becomes thin and starts to wear away. This cartilage is what stops the bones in your joints from rubbing against each other. Damage to cartilage can cause your joints to:
- Become painful, stiff or swollen
- Feel like they might lock up or give way
Sometimes you can have osteoarthritis, and not feel any symptoms at all. The most common sites to feel pain are your hands, spine, hips, and knees.
What factors increase my risk of osteoarthritis?
- Family history
- Gender - females have a higher incidence of osteoarthritis
- Age - it is more common as we get older
- Overuse or injury to joints
What can I do to manage my osteoarthritis?
Firstly, make sure you have an accurate diagnosis. It is best to visit your general practitioner (doctor) first, to get appropriate tests and to come up with a treatment plan.
The best approach to treatment is a team approach.
You are the most important member of your healthcare team. Your team may also involve:
- Your doctor
- Specialists (such as rheumatologists and orthopaedic specialists)
- Allied health professionals (such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists)
- Community organisations that may support you physically or mentally
- Your friends and family who support you
At Arthritis Queensland, we provide, and recommend, a range of services that support you to manage your osteoarthritis.
- Ring our helpline! Our experienced health educators can give you advice and link you to resources in your area.
- Download our booklets and information sheets.
- Join a course or seminar.
- Learn more about 'My Joint Pain', an online tool for managing your osteoarthritis, developed by Arthritis Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation.