Osteoarthritis is the gradual wear and tear of your joints which causes pain and stiffness. Normally the surfaces of your joints are surrounded by a tissue called cartilage, which prevents your bones from rubbing against each other. Over time cartilage can become worn away which can cause pain and stiffness in your joints, as well as swelling.
The most common osteoarthritis symptoms are pain and stiffness in your joints – it's common to notice knee pain or hip pain, but it can affect any joint, including your neck, back, hands and feet.
Other symptoms include:
Some people find that their symptoms are worse at night, in cold and/or damp weather.
You should see your GP if you have persistent problems with your joints, particularly if it's:
Your GP should be able to give you a diagnosis from a simple examination. See your GP or use the consultant finder below to book an appointment with a specialist at your nearest Spire hospital.
It's important that you get an accurate diagnosis for osteoarthritis as it can be confused with other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, you may need further tests such as an X-ray or blood test to rule out other causes.
There are many factors that may increase your risk of osteoarthritis, and is often a mixture of the following:
Osteoarthritis can't be cured, but there are treatments that can help and things you can do yourself to manage it. Simple things such as exercise, weight loss and over-the-counter painkillers can make a difference. Treatments that can help with osteoarthritis vary depending on the severity and affected joints, but they include: