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What is osteoarthritis?




What is osteoarthritis?


Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis, a disease that affects the joints. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage (the elastic material that covers the ends of bones) in the joints. It most commonly affects the hands, hips, knees and spine. Cartilage, whose function is to absorb shocks and prevent friction between bones, is then reduced, causing pain, especially when the body is in motion.


Symptoms of osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis often manifests itself through the following symptoms: stiffness in the joints; swelling; a grinding or creaking sensation when the joint is moved; the appearance of lumps in the joints; or difficulty in moving the joint. For many years, we thought osteoarthritis was related to natural bone “wear and tear” arthritis, but it’s actually related to incomplete joint healing.

Here are a few factors that may contribute to the development of osteoarthritis:

  • Age (osteoarthritis is more common in the elderly);
  • Gender (women are more often affected);
  • Genetics; overweight or obesity;
  • Certain occupations or activities (e.g. construction, high-level sports);
  • A lack of muscle strength; a sedentary lifestyle; or previous deformities or injuries.


Treatment and management of osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis is a chronic and irreversible problem, but lifestyle changes and certain treatments can alleviate the symptoms experienced. Achieving a healthy weight and being physically active are among the changes to adopt. The use of an orthosis or biomechanical supports can help reduce symptoms. It is also advisable to apply heat or cold to painful areas, taking care to place a towel between the hot or cold element and the skin.


Medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are available. Surgeries such as joint replacement and specific injections are also other options for more severe cases.

To find out more about the studies currently being recruited, please contact the Alpha Clinical Research team at 418-704-1112 (Lebourgneuf) or 418-847-1112 (Val-BĂ©lair).

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