What Is Osteoarthritis?

In Canada, 1 in 7 people suffer from some form of osteoarthritis, and although symptoms most often appear between the ages of 40 and 50, they can occur earlier. In general, women 55 and older are more affected, and most people over the age of 70 are living with this disease. Unlike inflammatory arthritis, whose pain is often nocturnal and is more or less continuous, osteoarthritis is felt more during the day, and pain increases with exertion as the joints are used.

Understand osteoarthritis

It is important to understand that osteoarthritis is, first and foremost, a mechanical disease. Osteoarthritis is, in fact, the wear and tear of cartilage, which loses its flexibility and effectiveness. As the cartilage wears out and weakens, it leads to symptoms and pain that can sometimes become very disabling. Osteoarthritis also affects all joints, including ligaments, bones, muscles, and synovial fluid (the fluid that naturally lubricates the joints).

Which joints are affected by osteoarthritis?

Mobile joints are the ones most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. However, it can also less frequently affect the shoulder joint, wrist joint, ankle joint, and even the big toe (hallux rigidus).


Osteoarthritis of the knee (gonarthrosis) is the most common form.


Osteoarthritis of the hip joint (coxarthrosis) is the second most diagnosed form.


Osteoarthritis of the hand, osteoarthritis of the fingers, or osteoarthritis of the thumb (rhizarthrosis).


Lumbar osteoarthritis, facet osteoarthritis, and cervical osteoarthritis (cervical spondylosis).

What are the main causes of osteoarthritis?

Excess weight and lack of physical activity play an important role in the development of osteoarthritis. Repetitive movements or frequent repetitive strain injuries can also cause abnormal wear and tear leading to this disease.

In many cases, osteoarthritis results from repetitive work (e.g., hip osteoarthritis in mail carriers or lumbar osteoarthritis in material handlers) or, on the contrary, from static work postures (e.g., cervical osteoarthritis in heavy truck drivers). In these cases, health specialists such as occupational therapists or ergonomists can help you find solutions to maintain maximum comfort at work.

Osteoarthritis can also be hereditary and occurs more often with aging.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Symptoms associated with the disease vary from one person to another. Here are the most common symptoms:

Pain in a joint during movement. For example, knee pain while coming down the stairs.

Stiffness in the joint after a period of immobility or upon awakening. It is normal to be less flexible in the morning; however, this stiffness should not last more than 30 minutes.

Discomfort in the joint with weather variations.

Discomfort when slight pressure is applied to the joint.

You see small bone spurs (osteophytes) on the joint.

Crackling can be heard as joints are stressed. This occurs mainly in cases of knee osteoarthritis.

You notice redness or swelling of the joint. However, this symptom is less common.

Preventing and reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis

Maintaining a healthy weight

Excess weight causes mechanical stress on the joints and leads to premature wear. Maintaining an ideal weight greatly promotes joint health. Weight loss, if warranted, will help reduce symptoms. Hip and knee osteoarthritis are common in people suffering from obesity.

Engaging in regular physical activity

It is sometimes difficult to stay active when pain has set in. However, regular physical activity is important, not only for your overall health, but also to nourish and strengthen the muscles, thus relieving the joints. Although uncomfortable at first, regular activity can reduce the effects and pain of osteoarthritis.

It is important you choose a sport adapted to your condition. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee, you may need to avoid sports such as running or downhill skiing. In the case of lumbar osteoarthritis, cycling, golf and tennis are not recommended. In all cases of osteoarthritis, swimming is an excellent sport to practise because it uses several muscles at the same time without causing shocks directly on the joints.

Taking care of your joints

Whenever possible, avoid repetitive movements or movements that stress a particular joint.

How is osteoarthritis treated?

Unfortunately, there is no complete cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are several solutions that can help improve daily living with osteoarthritis and alleviate pain. Improving one’s lifestyle and following the recommendations mentioned above can help prevent osteoarthritis and reduce symptoms when suffering from it.

Genacol’s joint health supplements are also natural solutions to help maintain healthy cartilage and reduce joint pain associated with osteoarthritis, thanks to the AminoLock Collagen they contain.

The effectiveness of this exclusive ingredient has been shown in three clinical studies.

Source: Arthritis Society Canada

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