Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a progressive disease; signs and symptoms gradually worsen over time. Osteoarthritis is more common among women than men, especially after the age of 50 years. Most commonly, it develops in people aged over 40. Younger people may also be affected; usually after an injury or as a result of another joint condition.
Any joint in the body may be affected. However, the disease is most likely to affects the patient’s:
- Lower back
Osteoarthritis has three characteristics:
- Bony growths develop around the edge of joints.
- It damages cartilage – Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints.
- Synovitis – there is mild inflammation of the tissues around the joints.
Doctors advise parents not to disregard their child’s pain as “just growing pains”. Parents must pay attention to the details, especially since children may be too young to accurately express the kind of pain they are exeperiencing, when it started, if it is constant, if it comes and goes. Parents should advise their pediatrician of any notable abnormalities so a proper evaluation can be performed by the doctor. Awareness of a problem, early diagnosis and early treatment may prevent a child from a lifetime of agony due to osteoarthritis later in life.