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Symptoms of OA
The most common signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
Causes of OA
OA is a "wear and tear" disease that generally develops slowly over time. It usually starts appearing in middle-aged and older adults however, it can occur at any age following an injury to the joint, or from a disorder. There isn't a single cause of OA, but there are many risk factors:
Age: The chance of developing osteoarthritis increases as you age, but it is not inevitable.
Obesity: Increased body weight is a serious factor in the development of OA. For every extra pound you gain, you put four additional pounds of stress on your knees.
Injury or overuse: Athletes and people who have active jobs are at higher risk of developing OA. This would include floor layers, construction workers, jackhammer operators and farmers as examples.
Genetics: Recent research suggests that OA is partially caused by your genes.
Muscle weakness: When the muscles surrounding your knee are weak, the bones take on more stress, which increases the risk of developing OA.
Other diseases: Rheumatoid arthritis, hemochromatosis (having too much iron) and acromegaly (excessive growth hormone) increase your risk of developing OA.
To determine if your knee pain is OA, you need a simple weight-bearing x-ray, a medical history and a physical examination by a physician. Time-consuming and costly diagnostic procedures are not required. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important in successfully managing the disease and your pain.