Get IBD info delivered to your inbox
Sign up to our mailing list and receive regular articles and tips about IBD.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff. It is the most common type of arthritis in the UK.
The severity of osteoarthritis symptoms canÂ vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints. For some people, the symptoms may be mild and may come and go, whereas others can experience more continuous and severe problems.
Almost any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, but the condition most often causes problems in theÂ knees, hips, and small joints of the hands.
The pain and stiffnessÂ in the joints can make carrying out everyday activities difficult forÂ some people with the condition.
Read more about the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
You should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can try to identify the cause.
To help determine whether you have osteoarthritis, your GP will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints.
Read more about diagnosing osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage in and around the joints that the body cannot fully repair.
It's not clear exactly why this happens in some people, although your chances of developing the condition can be influenced by a number of factors, such as your age and weight.
Osteoarthritis usually develops in people over 45 years of age, although younger people can also be affected.
It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not quite true. You may in fact be ableÂ to reduce your chances of developing the condition by doing regular, gentle exercises and maintaining a healthy weight.
Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition and can't be cured, but it doesn't necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. A number of treatments are also available to reduce the symptoms.
Mild symptoms can sometimes be managed with simple measures including regular exercise, losing weight if you are overweight, wearing suitable footwear and using special devices to reduce the strain on your joints during your everyday activities.
If your symptoms are more severe, you may need additional treatments such as painkilling medication and a structured exercise plan carried out under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
In a small number of cases, where the above treatments haven't helped or the damage to the joints is particularly severe, surgery may be carried out to repair, strengthen or replace a damaged joint.
Read more about treating osteoarthritis.
As osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, it is importantÂ you get the right support to help you cope with any issues such as reduced mobility and advice on any necessary financial support.
As well as support from your healthcare team,Â it is importantÂ to look afterÂ your own health and wellbeing. This includes taking your medicine regularly andÂ adopting as healthy a lifestyleÂ as possible.
Some people may also find it helpful to talk to their GP orÂ others who are living withÂ the same condition asÂ there mayÂ be questions or worries you want to share.
Read moreÂ about living with osteoarthritis.
Why not sign up to our mailing list and receive regular articles and tips about IBD to your inbox?