Osteoarthritis is a disease that “degrades” the joints. It is also known as Degenerative Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease. The joint is the point where two bones join. Humans carry joints in the knees, hips, toes, and other areas of the body that are used to facilitate movement. There are many types of arthritis, one of which is called Osteoarthritis.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease worldwide. In Osteoarthritis, the cartilage is damaged, i.e. the substance that is in the joint, at the point where two bones join and protects them by protecting them from abrasion. This cartilage damage leads to pain and swelling and occurs when the bones begin to rub against each other.

Osteoarthritis usually develops as we get older and occurs more often in:

  • Knee
  • Hip
  • Arm
  • Spine
  • Leg

Unlike other forms of arthritis, Osteoarthritis does not cause problems in other human organs. Symptoms appear only in the joints and usually manifest as pain or swelling, with the pain usually worsening towards the end of the day. In addition to pain and swelling, other possible symptoms are a local rise in temperature, rigidity in the morning and crackling of the damaged joints.

Who is at risk?

There are some factors that when one shows them testify that the person is at risk of getting Osteoarthritis. These include:


The incidence of Osteoarthritis increases with age, but in these cases, the disease occurs mainly in the knee, hip and arms.

A significant portion of older people do not suffer from Osteoarthritis. This suggests that the condition is not necessarily the result of aging.


After the age of 50, women are more likely than men to develop symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee or arm. However, as far as the spine is concerned, men and women experience the disease with equal frequency.

The onset of the condition is more common in men under the age of 50. After 50 years, however, the disease becomes more common in women.

Family History of Osteoarthritis

Research shows that women with a family history of osteoarthritis in the arm, hip or knee are more likely to develop the condition. Men are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the hip when they have a family history of osteoarthritis.


The literature suggests that obesity is likely to worsen a patient’s osteoarthritis symptoms compared to a normal weight patient.


Research shows that menopause is a risk factor for developing osteoarthritis. It has not yet been determined whether this is related to the drop in estrogen seen during menopause.

Muscle weakness around the Joint

The question of whether muscle weakness causes osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis muscle weakness remains unanswered.

Long-term engagement with demanding sports or activities that require heavy physical work

Former Athletics, footballers, and American football players are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. People whose work requires them to spend a lot of time on their knees or squatting for a long time are more likely to develop osteoarthritis.

Acute injuries of the joints

People who have seriously injured a joint are at a very high risk of developing osteoarthritis of the injured joint at some point later in life.

Congenital deformity of the joints

An abnormal joint can lead to osteoarthritis. If the bones in the joint do not join properly, over time extra pressure is applied to it, which can lead to the collapse of the joint tissue.

Another disease of the joints

People who suffer from other joint conditions such as Gout or Rheumatoid Arthritis are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis as a result of damage to their joints from pre-existing condition.

Preventing osteoarthritis

Some of the risk factors for osteoarthritis can be modified. Prevention should focus on the risk factors that one can influence such as maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding engaging in dangerous activities that strain the joints. Activities that strain the joints, especially kneeling and squatting, double the risk of getting osteoarthritis in the knee.


A careful and healthy lifestyle will help the patient not only to maintain a stable weight, but also to strengthen the muscle around the “problematic” joint. Even a small increase in body weight is able to increase the pressure exerted on the joints to such an extent that it is able to worsen the symptoms of Osteoarthritis. Protect your joints during your simple daily activities. Avoid kneeling and do not squat. Avoid high heels.

Vitamin supplements

Research has shown that people who are deficient in vitamin C and D have a faster degradation of the disease. Research has shown that taking vitamin C supplements can help prevent osteoarthritis, but has not shown that this can be an effective treatment for people who already suffer from it.


Foods rich in vitamin C are peppers, fresh thyme, parsley and dark, green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, as well as various fruits such as kiwi, papaya, oranges and strawberries.
Vitamin D, on the other hand, is found in foods such as cod liver oil, cooked salmon, cooked mackerel, beef liver, sardines, egg yolk and canned tuna. Also, exposure to sunlight is a good way to get vitamin D.


Various scientific communities have made progress in the diagnosis of Osteoarthritis. Based on this, they have proposed various guidelines. The guidelines are specific and depend on the joint for which one will be preferred each time. In general, in order to make the diagnosis, the clinical symptoms, the laboratory findings, as well as the results of the radiographic, images are taken into account.
Osteoarthritis can be diagnosed by evaluating either the joint structure using radiographic imaging, or the clinical symptoms, or by combining the above.
The diagnosis can be made using X-rays. A detailed record of the patient’s history and physical examination can also be used to diagnose the condition.
Careful examination of symptoms, such as the development of pain over time, the factors that aggravate it, and those that alleviate it, can help in the diagnosis.


To date, no way has been found to heal a damaged cartilage. For this reason, treatment of this disease focuses on reducing pain, swelling, rigidity and educating the patient to improve his condition through a careful lifestyle.

Ways to alleviate the symptoms:
1) Rest
2) Exercise: swimming, walking, stationary bike
3) The deposition of hot pads before exercise and cold after it
4) Physiotherapy
5) Occupational therapy
6) The mechanical support devices
7) Drug treatments
8) Taking analgesic pills

I live normally even though I have osteoarthritis!

Osteoarthritis sufferers can have a normal life. In fact, exercise and social life will help reduce the symptoms of the disease. Treatment includes exercise, rest, maintaining an ideal body weight, applying hot or cold compresses, specific medications, and surgery.
The support of the patient from other family members and friends is vital for the patient, so that he/she can mitigate the effects of Osteoarthritis and be able to cope with his daily activities with dignity. The patient should set limits on himself/herself, which he/she can observe, always remaining committed to them and the treatment he/she follows. He/She can also help his joints by using a cane or other walking aid. He/She should also take steps to avoid falls.

Text editing
Elpiniki Tsombou
Member of the team of the Society
Source: IOF