As a joint disease, osteoarthritis theoretically can affect any joint in the body. But it tends to be somewhat predictable, typically affecting just a handful of major weight-bearing joints including the knee, the hand, the hip, and the spine. How does osteoarthritis develop and manifest itself in these areas

  • Knee. This is a very common place to develop osteoarthritis that, unfortunately, can have major ramifications for a person's mobility. People with osteoarthritis of the knee may have difficulty walking without pain and may ultimately get around less and less. While exercise is encouraged, you should avoid activities that make the discomfort worse, such as running. You also may be advised to ice your knee several times a day, or alternate heat and cold. Physical therapy is often a great help.
  • Hand. Osteoarthritis of the hand is said to afflict most women at some point in their lives. An overgrowth of bone occurs in the joints closest to the fingertips, causing pain, swelling and redness. Writing or working on the computer may be difficult. Arthritis can also occur at the base of the thumb. Your physician may prescribe oral medications, inject able anesthetics, a split worn on the affected joint, or a combination.
  • Hip. Like other forms of arthritis, hip osteoarthritis in older people commonly occurs because of wear and tear over the years. It causes pain not only in the hip but in the groin and the knee, and can make walking, crossing your legs, or tying your shoes an ordeal. Your doctor may advise rest following overuse, as well as an exercise program such as swimming or cycling to keep your hip mobile. You may also be advised to lose weight if you're overweight.
  • Spine. Wear and tear in the small joints of the upper and lower spine can lead to pain that runs down into the buttocks, thighs or pelvis. You may also have pain in the neck and back and difficulty bending over. As with other types of arthritis, a gentle exercise program, physical therapy, and medications are often prescribed as treatment.

While the knee, hand, hip, and spine are the usual problems spots for arthritis, it certainly is possible to have arthritis in other places. Less common spots are the ankle, foot, toe, elbow, and shoulder.


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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,;