As written by Southampton Physiotherapist, Phil Coleman
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a very common condition involving the degeneration of joints in the body, commonly affecting the knees, hips, lower back and neck, base of the thumb and big toe and finger joints. The degeneration particularly affects the cartilage, the smooth, slippery surface between the joints. The body cannot replace cartilage but attempts to repair the damage but makes it worse, laying down new bone in the form of osteophytes (bony spurs).
Types of Osteoarthritis
There’re two main types of OA – primary, where there’s no clear cause of the breakdown of cartilage, although there may be a genetic link, and secondary, where OA may develop in later life following injury such as a fracture or ligament damage. For example, ankle fractures commonly become arthritic and footballers with a history of major knee ligament damage may develop knee OA. More recently, a high BMI has been linked to OA in weight bearing joints.