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Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common forms of arthritis. It is a chronic condition in which the material that cushions the joints, called cartilage, breaks down. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of joint movement.
Osteoarthritis symptoms usually develop gradually. At first, there may be soreness or stiffness that seems more like a nuisance than a medical concern.
Osteoarthritis, or OA, may also affect the neck, small finger joints, and the base of the thumb, ankle, and big toe. The pain may be moderate and come and go, without affecting the ability to perform daily tasks. Some people's OA will never progress past this early stage. Others will have their OA get worse. The pain and stiffness of more severe osteoarthritis may make it difficult to walk, climb stairs, sleep, or perform other daily tasks.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are medications to help relieve pain, when needed. The doctor may recommend physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT) to help improve strength and function. When pain is severe and frequent or mobility and daily activities become difficult, surgery may be considered.
Staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight is the keys to living well with osteoarthritis.Treatments also include exercise, medicines, and sometimes surgery.