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How Does Osteoarthritis Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

Osteoarthritis is a condition, where cartilage presents in a joint start breaking down and the underlying bone changes. The changes may develop at a slow rate but become worse with time.(1)

How Does Osteoarthritis Affect The Body?

Effects Of Osteoarthritis According To Its Underlying Symptoms

Symptoms of osteoarthritis develop slowly and become worse with time. Common signs and symptoms include the following-

  • Pain i.e. affected joints may suffer an injury at the time of or after movement
  • Joint stiffness occurs once you awake or after staying inactive
  • Your joints become tender even when you apply light pressure near or to them
  • Flexibility loss, in which you may fail to move joints in its complete motion range
  • Swelling may cause across the joints because of soft tissue inflammation
  • Bone spurs, which appear as hard lumps and may form across your affected joints
  • You may feel a grating type of sensation at the time of using joints or hear crackling or popping sound.(2)

Effects Of Osteoarthritis According To Its Complications

A majority of people suffering from osteoarthritis found the condition as a nuisance, as it eventually becomes enough to affect their daily life and physical activities. In some cases, patients of osteoarthritis may have a few of the severe complications. These include-

  • Chondrolysis i.e. rapid and complete cartilage breakdown, which leads to loss of tissue material within the joints
  • Osteonecrosis i.e. death of affected bones
  • Stress fractures i.e. hairline crack in different bones, which develop gradually in a gradual way to respond to the repetitive type of stress or injury
  • Infection and bleeding within the joints
  • Pinched nerve if a patient suffers from spine osteoarthritis
  • Rupture or deterioration of the ligaments and tendons across the joint, which leads to stability loss.(3)

What Triggers Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis mainly takes place because of joint damages, which accumulate with time. Joint damage may even take place because of other reasons, including one’s previous injury, like ligament injuries, dislocated joints, and torn cartilage.(4)

Certain factors may increase your risk related to osteoarthritis problems. These include the following-

Age Factor: Osteoarthritis has a close association with wear and tear of joints, while it becomes common as the people become old. According to the statistics, about one-third of adults exceeding 65 years of age may have symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Previous Injuries: Peoples with injured joints may likely to develop the problem of osteoarthritis in their joints.

Poor Posture: Standing or sitting improperly may cause strain in your joints, which increases your risk to suffer from osteoarthritis.

Obesity: Obesity puts an increased risk related to stress on your body. This increases the risk of osteoarthritis in your cartilage and joints. Overweight people are highly susceptible to osteoarthritis in the hips, knees, and spine.

Specific Occupations: Repetitive actions may put undue stress on the cartilage joints and occupations, which involve repetitive actions, may increase your OA risks. These are as follows-

  • Squatting or kneeling for about half an hour in one day
  • Walking and lifting
  • Climbing stairs

People regularly participating in any of the joint-intensive sports may remain at an increased risk related to osteoarthritis.

Additional Factors to Trigger Osteoarthritis

Lack Of Physical Activity: Staying inactive for a long time may cause stiffening of joints. This causes the hurting of movements. Lack of enough activity during nighttime may explain why osteoarthritis-related pain becomes worse while people wake up.

Stress: Most of the doctors have linked stress with exaggerated perceptions related to pain.

Weather Fluctuations: Weather fluctuations may make the symptoms related to osteoarthritis worse. OA patients are especially sensitive towards damp and cold weather.(5)


Depending on the underlying symptoms followed by certain complications related to osteoarthritis, the condition may affect patients adversely. Moreover, there are large numbers of causes, risk factors and additional factors may trigger the problem of osteoarthritis.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2020

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