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Get the Facts About Osteoarthritis and Aging

When it comes to knee replacement, area residents might face this surgery as they get older as a result of osteoarthritis. In the United States, 10 percent of women and 13 percent of men who are age 60 are already experiencing this condition. Since it is so common, and across the world there are millions of people affected, it is important to know the facts so that you can protect your joints and advocate for your health.

Looking at the Causes

As you get older, your joints have experienced decades of wear and tear. This is the most common reason for this condition in people who are over 60. The cartilage starts to wear down, and eventually, the ends of the two bones that make up various joints start to rub together. This can cause friction and various discomforts. In addition to simply getting older, there are some factors that can increase your risk of developing it earlier in life. These might also cause a more rapid progression. The risk factors include:

  • Being female
  • History of joint injuries
  • Family history
  • Obesity
  • Working occupations where certain joints experience repetitive stress
  • Bone deformities

Exploring the Symptoms

While all of the joints can be affected, this condition is most often diagnosed in the hands, hips, knees and spine. This condition usually comes on gradually, so your symptoms might not be easy to notice at first. However, over time, they can become more pronounced. The symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Grating sensation
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Bone spurs

 Getting an Accurate Diagnosis

For the most part, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your medical history, and then he or she will examine the joints that are giving you trouble. To make sure that you have a confirmed diagnosis, your doctor might recommend some imaging tests and blood work. While not common, there are some cases where joint fluid analysis is also done.

Treatment Options

Medications to alleviate pain and inflammation are among the most common treatments. Your doctor might also recommend certain types of therapy that can keep you active and mobile, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and gentle exercise. When the joints have suffered significant damage, surgery might be necessary to repair or replace the affected joints.

You can see that osteoarthritis can be severe for some people, requiring more extensive treatments, such as knee replacement. It is important to do what you can to take care of your knees so that even when this condition is present, you can preserve their health and function for as long as possible. Work with your doctor and live the healthiest lifestyle possible to ensure your joints have optimal well-being.


Request a consultation with one of the knee specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute. Call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online.

OSI has convenient locations to serve you. The campus in Appleton includes clinics, a surgery center, MRI, physical therapy, and a skilled nursing facility, as well as a walk-in clinic that provides care for new orthopedic injuries.

OSI has outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.