Anatomically, a joint is a physical connection between two bones. For instance, the knee joint is the point of connection between the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia). Joints generally contain a variety of fibrous connective tissue.
The majority of our body’s joints allow for movement, however a few, like joints in the skull, do not. Joints that do allow for motion, such as the knee or ankle, have a predetermined range of motion, which is simply how far in each direction that joint can move or bend comfortably.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a form of arthritis that features the breakdown loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a cushion between the bones of the joints. Among other types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease.
This condition occurs more frequently as a patient ages. Before the age of 50, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in men. After 55 years old, it occurs more commonly in women. In addition, there are two different types of osteoarthritis…
- Primary osteoarthritis – This refers to degenerative changes to the cartilage and joint that occur, without a known cause. These arthritic changes are idiopathic, meaning they arise spontaneously and cannot be attributed to another condition.
- Secondary osteoarthritis – This condition occurs when a previous injury or pre-existing condition causes arthritis in a joint. For example, repetitive injuries or those that happen while playing sports may cause secondary osteoarthritis to develop in the affected joint later in life. Certain inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis or gout, may also result in secondary osteoarthritis change.