Osteoarthritis (OA) is the wearing down of structures in a joint. This leads to pain and stiffness. It can happen to any joint. It is most common in the knees, hips, spine, and hands.
Cartilage is a smooth tissue that covers bone surfaces inside the joint. It lets bones move smoothly over each other. The breakdown causes rough areas of the joint. This causes pain with movement. All the cartilage may wear away. This leaves the bone bare. It makes moving hard and painful. Over time, this can lead to extra stress and damage to other parts of the joint.
OA is a degenerative joint disease. This means it worsens over time. It is more common in women and older adults. OA is different from person to person. Problems vary from mild to severe.
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