Senior Woman clutching her knee suffering from osteoarthritis

What Is Osteoarthritis? Phoenix Home Care & Hospice Explains

At Phoenix Home Care & Hospice, many of our clients suffer from a degenerative condition known as osteoarthritis. This condition can cause limited mobility, which makes it difficult for older adults to maintain their personal care routine like showering and getting dressed, as well as housekeeping activities like doing laundry or dishes. 

If you have a loved one who is suffering from osteoarthritis, you’re likely wondering how you can best care for them and help them live a comfortable and fulfilled life. Let’s explore this medical condition below to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about it.

Related post: What is Occupational Therapy and How It Can Help Your Home Health Experience

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It happens when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down. Most commonly, it occurs in the joints on the hands, hips, spine, and knees, although it can affect any joint in the body.

This disease gradually develops over time. Risk factors that can increase your risk of getting it include:

  • Being female
  • Older age
  • Joint injuries
  • Repetitive stress on a joint
  • Certain metabolic diseases and/or bone deformities

Although this type of arthritis can’t be reversed once it develops, its progression can be slowed with treatment and certain lifestyle changes can also help reduce pain and improve joint function.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Painful joints (especially during or after movement)
  • Tender joints (when pressure is applied)
  • Stiff joints (typically most noticeable after a period of inactivity of when first waking up in the morning)
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating, popping, or crackling sounds in joints
  • Swelling caused by tissue inflammation around the affected joints

If you have any of these symptoms that persist and refuse to go away, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis?

Certain over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help relieve pain caused by arthritis. Additionally, a doctor can prescribe some medications to help manage the pain.

Alternatively, ongoing physical therapy or occupational therapy can help affected individuals improve their mobility and decrease pain. In addition to these types of treatments, some people with severe arthritis may need steroid injections or even joint replacement surgery to get relief.

Related post: Essentials of Elderly Care at Phoenix Home Care & Hospice

Living With Osteoarthritis? Phoenix In-Home Care Can Help

Arthritis can make it difficult for adults to live comfortably at home, but we provide in-home care to help older adults function independently from the comfort of their own homes. Contact us online for more information about our services or to arrange in-home care for a loved one.

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