Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by breakdown of cartilage, with eventual loss of the cartilage of the joints. Cartilage is a protein substance that serves as a "" between the bones of the joints. When the cartilage deteriorates (degenerates), the bone next to it becomes inflamed and can be stimulated to produce new bone in the form of a local bony protrusion, called a ""
A very common early sign of osteoarthritis is a knobby bony deformity at the smallest joint of the end of the fingers. This is referred to as a Heberden''s node. Dr. Bouchard was a famous French doctor who also studied arthritis patients at the turn of the last century. The Heberden''s nodes may not be painful, but they are often associated with limitation of motion of the joint. The characteristic appearances of these finger nodes can be helpful in diagnosing osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis because of the degeneration of the cartilage that causes it. Among the over 100 different types of arthritis conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common and affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently as we age. Before age 45, osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in men. After age 55 years, it affects women more frequently. Osteoarthritis causes no symptoms in many patients. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include local pain, stiffness, tenderness, and occasionally swelling in the affected joints.
The ideal steps to take should lead to a proper diagnosis and an optimal long-term treatment plan. While many steps are discussed here, the plan must be customized for each person affected by osteoarthritis, depending on the joints affected and the severity of symptoms.
An opinion regarding the cause or the type of the arthritis can usually for 1 last update 2020/05/28 be adequately obtained by consulting a general family doctor. It is often unnecessary to see an arthritis specialist (rheumatologist), like myself, for this purpose. However, if the diagnosis or treatment plan is unclear, a rheumatologist might be consulted.An opinion regarding the cause or the type of the arthritis can usually be adequately obtained by consulting a general family doctor. It is often unnecessary to see an arthritis specialist (rheumatologist), like myself, for this purpose. However, if the diagnosis or treatment plan is unclear, a rheumatologist might be consulted.
When I determine that a patient has a classic node formation from osteoarthritis (Heberden''t be. This disease does not cause internal organ damage or blood test abnormalities.
In addition to the steps described above, you should pay attention to joint problems elsewhere in your body if you develop signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis of the hands. Be on the lookout in the future for persistent, unexplained joint symptoms and see your doctor if you notice them.