Osteoarthritis is a very common condition which can affect any joint in the body. It’s most likely to affect the joints that bear most of our weight, such as the knees and feet or Joints that we use a lot such as the thumb. Almost all of us will develop osteoarthritis in some of our joints as we get older, though we may not even be aware of it.
In a healthy joint, a coating of tough but smooth and slippery tissue, called cartilage, helps the bones to move freely against each other. In osteoarthritis the cartilage thins and the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. The body tries to repair and will often allow the joint to work normally and without pain and stiffness. However, the repair processes don’t always work so well and changes to the joint structure can sometimes contribute to symptoms such as pain, swelling or difficulty in moving the joint normally.
These are resources that you can visit to learn more:
Health professionals diagnose osteoarthritis clinically without investigations if you are:
45 or over AND has activity-related joint pain AND has either no morning joint-related stiffness or morning stiffness that lasts no longer than 30 minutes. X rays will sometimes be recommended if you are considering surgery or injection therapy.
There is no role for MRI scans in osteoarthritis.
Although there’s no cure for osteoarthritis yet, there are many treatments that can provide relief from the symptoms and allow you to get on with your life. By choosing to engage in core treatments you can often successfully manage your osteoarthritis without the need for medical treatments.
Core treatments are things that should be considered by everyone with osteoarthritis:
If you are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or struggling to cope please contact your GP who may refer you to the relevant healthcare professional.
What does Cardiff and Vale offer?
Cardiff and Vale, we are committed to providing a high value service through holistic assessment taking into account your individual needs and preferences to help you manage your arthritis. Regulatory bodies such NICE and international societies such as OARSI and EULAR have created guidelines which we aim to deliver on. These are summarised below: