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Osteoarthritis – Overview

March 11, 2021


"One of the questions I get quite frequently is, what is arthritis? And I like to tell patients, if you think of your joints as having a capping to them, on one side and the other, on both of those sides is a very slick lining. We call it articular cartilage. That cartilage is very, very smooth. And in fact, when you rub one side of cartilage onto the other, it's the same as if you had ice on ice. In arthritis, it's the damage of this cartilage that causes damage to your joint. Broadly speaking, there's two main types of arthritis. There's osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis, things like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, is actually a disease of the synovium, which is the lining of the joint that creates the articular fluid. Our synovial fluid. The synovial fluid has these proteases or enzymes in them that actually go and damage the cartilage itself. When we talk about osteoarthritis, it's more of the wear and tear or degenerative type of arthritis that is causing the damage to that lining of your joint. Over time, damage to that cartilage creates more of a wear and these small potholes, if you will, into the joint itself, leading to destruction and difficulty moving that joint and causes pain. Any joint that has this articular cartilage in it is affected by arthritis. Typically the most common joint, however, is the knee, followed by the hip and the shoulder, and then the smaller joints in your body, such as the ankle, the wrist, and then even the joints in your hand."

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