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Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a chronic, degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults. Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of joint cartilage. It is not simply “wear and tear”, but rather chemical changes in joint cartilage (the cushioning tissue between the bones that form a joint) that cause it to break down and new bone, in the form of bone spurs to be formed. The word oteoarthritis literally means “bony arthritis”.
The Center for Joint Care is the one place in San Diego where patients with degenerative joint disease and pre-arthritic conditions receive advanced comprehensive joint care. Learn more.
Osteoarthritis may develop as a result of another condition, such as a previous injury to a joint or excess weight that puts extra strain on a joint. Genetic factors also play a strong role in the development of osteoarthritis.
Your physician will evaluate your symptoms and do a full physical exam. Sometimes doctors will also perform include other tests in the evaluation, such as:
At UC San Diego Health System, we have a board-certified rheumatologist who can evaluate your joint health, form a diagnosis, and assist in nonsurgical management of the disease.
Dr. Gregg Middleton discusses osteoarthritis. See more
videos at Patient Resources.
The goal of these treatments is to help keep you active, able to do what you need to do and to exercise.
Patients with osteoarthritis who remain active and exercise regularly have been shown to improve their physical functioning and reduce their pain over time.
If you have severe osteoarthritis that doesn't respond to initial treatments or if you have significant loss of cartilage, surgery may be an option to relieve pain and help restore function and mobility. Visit the Center for Joint Care to learn more about our expertise in joint resurfacing and replacement. Our orthopedic specialists will discuss surgical options with you and recommend treatment according to the affected area and the severity of your osteoarthritis. Any surgery will be followed by a period of rehabilitation to help restore function and mobility.
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