Osteoarthritis (or arthrosis) is a degenerative disease of the joints associated with the progressive deterioration and wearing away of the cartilage and disorders in the nearby structures, especially the bone.
Osteoarthritis is a very widespread disease, probably the most common of all after the age of 65. In Italy, millions of people suffer from the disease. This number is destined to increase due to the progressive ageing of the population.
Moreover, it can also be caused by frequent stimulation and mechanical strain on the joints, thus affecting even athletic or highly active individuals.
Osteoarthritis is most commonly and frequently found in the hands, hips, knees and spine.
Two types of risk factors are generally distinguished during the development of osteoarthritis: modifiable risk factors, which are related to lifestyle and are therefore preventable, such as excess weight and obesity, trauma and joint injuries and certain work activities; non-modifiable risk factors such as genetic predisposition, female gender and advancing age.
The basic clinical signs of osteoarthritis are pain, stiffness and progressive functional limitation, which may be associated with varying degrees of deformity.
It is important to seek advice from a doctor as soon as the initial symptoms appear.
The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on determination of the patient’s clinical history and assessment of the symptoms (anamnesis), accompanied by an appropriate objective examination (the actual consultation).
This then requires an X-ray examination. The X-ray image will show the main signs of osteoarthritis: the presence of osteophytes, i.e. the growth of bone tissue localised on the bone surface, and a reduction in the joint space.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease with painful exacerbations. Treatment must therefore simultaneously control the pain and slow down the process of joint degeneration.
Today, new treatments are available that can counteract cartilage deficits, enhance the spontaneous repair processes and effectively control pain.
Depending on the extent and location of the disease, your doctor will suggest the best course of treatment and make some suggestions as to how to improve your “lifestyle”, such as losing weight if necessary, and doing light aerobic exercise (swimming, aqua aerobics, cycling), which does not involve strain on the painful joint.
The ESCEO guidelines propose a scheme based on various treatment scenarios.
Depending on whether or not the symptoms are persistent,
these guidelines suggest approaches that become progressively more invasive,
beginning with non-pharmacological treatments that are increasingly gaining ground
(physiotherapy, infiltrative therapy using hyaluronic acid, etc.), moving onto more
structured pharmacological treatments (chondro-protectors, anti-inflammatories, weak opioids);
and ultimately to surgical procedures or even prosthetic replacement where necessary.
The information on the website is for information purposes only and is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice.
Ask your doctor for more information.
IBSA specialises in research and development,
production and marketing of hyaluronic acid-based products.