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Osteoarthritis Stages: Symptoms, Treatments in Mansfield TX : Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that commonly affects the knee. Osteoarthritis is a condition whereby the cartilage that cushions the bones of the joint starts to go through wear and tears.

Cartilage is a slippery tissue that provides cushioning for bones of the joint and prevents them from rubbing against each other. It allows for free movements and prevents friction between bones.

When the cartilage starts to go through wear and tear, the bones of the joints begin to rub against each other. The friction between the bones increases due to less cushioning, resulting in pain, inflammation, stiffness, and inability to move your knee. Symptoms of osteoarthritis worsen over time.

Osteoarthritis affects older people because it takes years for it to develop and progress. The more you grow older, the more you’re likely to develop the condition. This is because wear and tear of cartilage continues as you grow older.

Stages of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis progresses through 4 stages. The symptoms get worse as it progresses.

The stages of osteoarthritis include:

Stage 1: Minor

This is the very early stage of osteoarthritis. In this stage, small lumps of bone known as osteophytes may start to develop in the knee area.

The cartilage may be slightly damaged and there will be no visible narrowing of the space between the bones that indicates that the cartilage is going through wear and tears. If the joint is checked on X-ray, it will appear normal.

People with stage 1 osteoarthritis may not feel pain or experience any symptoms.

Stage 2: Mild

Stage 2 is the next stage of osteoarthritis. People with stage 2 osteoarthritis may start to notice some symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.

You doctors can see some signs of wear if the joint is checked on X-ray. There will be more visible growths of osteophytes. The cartilage will begin to thin but the space between the bones will still appear normal.

The area where the bones and the tissues meet will start to harden and this will make the bone thicker and denser.

At this stage, the bones are not rubbing against each other. Synovial fluid is still present and it helps to reduce friction between the bones.

 Stage 3: Moderate

The damage to the cartilage has progressed significantly in this stage. There is greater cartilage loss and the gap between the bones has narrowed.

At this stage, patients will begin to experience pain and discomfort while performing daily activities, such as walking, running, kneeling, or bending.

The cartilage will continue to thin and break down and the joint may become inflamed. The bones will get thicker and start to grow outward to form lumps.

Stage 4: Severe

Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of osteoarthritis. Patients in this stage will experience all the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

The cartilage has completely worn out and broke down. The space between the bones in the joint becomes extremely narrow or totally closed up.

There is increased stiffness in the joint, inflammation, and less fluid in the joint. Friction between the bones has increased significantly. Patients start to experience severe pain and discomfort.

When the joint is checked on X-rays, it will show bone on bone. There is no more space in between bones because the cartilage has completely worn out.

There is limited or loss of motion in the joint. The bones may become deformed and angulated due to increased loss of cartilage.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis Stages: Symptoms, Treatments

The treatment options for osteoarthritis depend on the stage and how quickly it is progressing.

Stage 1: treatment

Stage 1 is the very early stage and the symptoms are usually minor. Treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medications

Taking OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen can help to relieve pain.

  •  Exercises

Engaging in certain strengthening and flexibility exercises can help to build strength and mobility.

Stage 2: Treatment

Osteoarthritis is still at its early stage but progressing. Treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Physical therapy

Physical therapies and exercises can help build or maintain strength and flexibility

  • Knee brace

Wearing a knee brace designed to relieve pressure on the joints can help relieve pain and improve stability.

  • Shoe inserts

Wearing shoe inserts can help to relieve stress on the knee 

  • Stage 3

At this stage, significant cartilage loss has occurred. Symptoms are more severe. More intensive treatments are required.

Treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Prescription pain relievers

Prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone or codeine may be prescribed by your doctor to relieve pain. These drugs are addictive and should be taken for only a short time.

  • Corticosteroid injections

Osteoarthritis Stages: Symptoms, Treatments

Injecting corticosteroids into the affected joint can help numb the pain and reduce inflammation.

  • Stage 4

At this stage, the cartilage has either significantly or completely worn out. Symptoms are at their worst stage.

At this stage, the only effective treatment may be surgery to replace or realign the joint. Surgical options are knee osteotomy or joint replacement surgery.


What is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis?

 Arthritis is a general term used to describe inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness.

There are different types of arthritis with each having different causes such as wear and tear, infections, or underlying diseases.

Osteoarthritis is a common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease whereby the cartilage cushioning the bones around the joint experience wears and tears. The cartilage in the joint wears out and breaks down, causing increase in friction between the bones of the joint. This leads to pain, stiffness, inflammation, and ultimately bone damage.

What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis?

The severity of osteoarthritis usually determines the most appropriate treatment option to use. However, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen are the first line of treatment for osteoarthritis.

What is the main cause of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis Stages: Symptoms, Treatments

The main cause of osteoarthritis is the wear and tear or breakdown of cartilage that occurs over time.

What happens if osteoarthritis is left untreated?

If left untreated, the condition will get worse. The bones may get damaged and there will be loss of mobility.

How can I reverse osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis can be reversed by chondroprotective agents but you need to meet the following conditions:

  • The cartilage must remain intact over joint surfaces
  • The subchondral bone must be intact
  • Follow lifestyle changes that reduce pressure on affected joint
  • Analgesic use is kept to a minimum or ideally
  • Enough time should be given to properly evaluate its effects
  • Daily and consistent supplementation of chondroprotective nutrients
  • Eating diets that contain all essential nutrients.

What is the best vitamin for osteoarthritis?

Glucosamine and chondroitin are the best vitamins for osteoarthritis.

Does walking worsen osteoarthritis?

Walking helps to reduce pain and disability that may come with osteoarthritis. Walking sends more nutrients and blood to knee joints to improve your condition. Walking also helps to improve mobility.

What are the 5 worst foods to eat if you have arthritis?

5 worst foods to avoid include

  • Saturated fats and trans fats
  • Foods that contain gluten
  • Refined carbs and white sugar
  • Processed and fried foods
  • Foods high in salt

How do I lubricate my joints?

You can increase lubrication in your joints by taking supplements such as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin. Eating salmon, trout, olive oil, nuts, avocados can also help lubricate your joints.

Is climbing the stairs bad for osteoarthritis?

Climbing the stairs put great pressure and stress on your knee. If you have osteoarthritis, climbing the stairs can increase your pain.

What food is good for osteoarthritis?

Some of the best foods to eat for osteoarthritis include:

  • Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon, and fresh tuna
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, and collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Green tea
  • Garlic

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