What is Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis?

We often refer to osteoarthritis as degenerative joint disease. It is the most common chronic condition of the joints and affects about 27 million Americans. Cartilage inside of a joint is a rubbery material that covers the ends of the bone, provides a gliding surface for joint motion, and allows cushioning between the bones. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down. As OA worsens over time and more cartilage breaks down, bones within the joint begin to rub against each other causing more joint damage.

How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed through a medical evaluation of your health history, symptoms, physical examination, and tests to confirm the diagnosis such as x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How does osteoarthritis affect me?
One in two adults will experience knee osteoarthritis symptoms during their lives, and this risk is much higher in those with a history of knee injury. Osteoarthritis causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and problems moving the joint. Ordinary tasks and normal activity can become difficult. Symptoms can affect social and family life and work responsibilities.

What can you do to protect your knee after ACL injury?
We do not yet know what can be donehow to prevent osteoarthritis after ACL injury. This study will begin to explore how activity and movement influence early changes in the knee’s cartilage. Our long-term goal is to determine appropriate amounts and types of exercise after ACL injury to promote long-term, healthy knee joints.

Adapted from the Arthritis Foundation website.