What is Osteoarthritis & How to Choose the Right Treatment

(Last Updated On: July 28, 2017)

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease with breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Osteoarthritis occurs more frequently with age – commonly affecting the hands, feet, spine, and weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.


What causes osteoarthritis?

Primary osteoarthritis

(Osteoarthritis not resulting from injury or disease). Primary osteoarthritis is common as a result of natural aging of the joint. The joint cartilage degenerates causing loss of the cartilage cushion between the bones of the joints. (Ref image below)

Repetitive use of the worn joints over the years can irritate and inflame the cartilage, causing joint pain and swelling. Loss of the cartilage cushion causes friction between the bones, leading to pain and limitation of joint mobility. Inflammation of the cartilage can also stimulate new bone outgrowths (spurs, also referred to as osteophytes) to form around the joints.


Secondary osteoarthritis

Its a form of osteoarthritis that is caused by another disease or condition. These include obesity, repeated trauma or surgery to the joint structures, abnormal joints at birth (congenital abnormalities), gout, diabetes, and other hormone disorders.

Obesity causes osteoarthritis by increasing the mechanical stress on the joint and therefore on the cartilage. Next to aging, obesity is the most significant risk factor for osteoarthritis of the knees. The early development of osteoarthritis of the knees among weight lifters is believed to be in part due to their heavy body weight.

Types of Osteoarthritis
Types of Osteoarthritis (Source – Medicine net)


What are  the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis?

  • Pain in the affected joint, associated with swelling, warmth, and creaking of the affected joints.
  • Progressive cartilage degeneration of the knee joints can lead to deformity and outward curvature of the knees, which is referred to as being “bowlegged.”
  • People with osteoarthritis of the weight-bearing joints (such as the knees) can develop a limp.
  • Osteoarthritis of the cervical spine or lumbar spine causes pain in the neck or low back.
  • Bony spurs that form along the arthritic spine can irritate spinal nerves, causing severe pain with numbness and tingling of the affected part.


How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?

There is no blood test for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Blood tests are performed to exclude diseases that can cause secondary osteoarthritis, as well as to exclude other arthritis conditions that can mimic osteoarthritis.

X-rays of the affected joints can be used to diagnose osteoarthritis.

The common X-ray findings of osteoarthritis include loss of joint cartilage, narrowing of the joint space between adjacent bones, and bone spur formation. Simple X-ray testing can also be very helpful to exclude other causes of pain in a particular joint as well as assisting the decision-making as to when surgical intervention might be considered.


What is the treatment for osteoarthritis?

The goal of treatment in osteoarthritis is to reduce joint pain and inflammation while improving and maintaining joint function.

There is no specific treatment to halt cartilage degeneration or to repair damaged cartilage in osteoarthritis.

Some of the treatment guidelines are:

  • Weight reduction and diet control
  • Avoiding activities that exert excessive stress on the joint cartilage
  • Medications: topical, oral, or injections into the joints to decrease joint inflammation and pain.
  • Food supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may relieve symptoms of pain and stiffness in some people.
  • Swimming is particularly well suited for patients with osteoarthritis because it allows patients to exercise with minimal impact stress to the joints.
  • In select cases, surgery can be considered.


Physiotherapy and Exercise

  • Strengthens the muscular support around the joints
  • Prevents the joints from “freezing up” and improves and maintains joint mobility.
  • Helps with weight reduction and promotes endurance.
  • Exercises include walking, stationary cycling, and light weight training.
  • Physical therapists can provide mechanical support devices, such as splints, canes, walkers, and braces. These devices can be helpful in reducing stress on the joints.
  • Spine symptoms can improve with a neck collar, lumbar corset, or a firm mattress, depending on what areas are involved.


Surgery is generally reserved for those patients with osteoarthritis that is particularly severe and unresponsive to the conservative treatments.

  • Arthroscopy can be helpful when cartilage tears are suspected.
  • Osteotomy is a bone-removal procedure that can help realign some of the deformity in selected patients.
  • Arthrodesis: fusion of a joint
  • Arthroplasty: replacement with an artificial joint like total hip and total knee replacements.



To book an appointment with the Physiotherapist:

Call: 080 – 33197515 or

Visit: http://portea.in/Physioservices




  1. Dear Dr.Udaya Kumar Maiya, I am 59 years,weight 65, i can hear creaking noise on both knee joints when i am walking up and down the staircase for the past six years. I am not taking any medication at moment.Please advise.

    • Hi there. It looks like you have early osteoarthritis in both knees. Nice to know you are able to walk up and down the stairs. I would advise the following:

      1. Try to reduce about 10% of your weight over the next 6 months;
      2. Cut down on carbohydrates; step up on file and protein.
      3. Get a physiotherapy consultation to assess the status of your knee joints and muscles around your knee.

      They will also help you to strengthen your muscles so that the pressure on your knees reduces. We, at Portea, can help you in this regard, if you need, do contact us on 1800-121-2323.

      All of the above should arrest the progress of the OA. If allowed to progress, you will gradually have movement restrictions, pain and ultimately end up in surgery. We would like to avoid all of these. All the best!

      Warm Regards,
      Dr. Udaya Maiya

  2. HI,
    Just a simple clarification required from your end. Whenever I wore shoes after few hours my right leg 4th toe starts paining and its real real acute pain. Moment i take off my shoes i got relief. I saw 2-3 doctors but they are unable to detect anything.

    • Hi Pravesh,

      We would recommend you to consult a physiotherapist for assessment and advise. If you need in-home physiotherapy, you can call us on 1800-121-2323/

      Warm Regards,
      Team Portea

  3. Hi,
    I used to be reaaallly active in sport and outdoor activity. Few years back i fall down from the stairs(someone push me purposedly) but i did not get immediate treatment only a year aft the incident and was diagnosed with OA and i also hv plantar faciitis. Due to that i can no longer be active and my weight has balloon up and the pain is getting worst. Pls advice if there is any solution to control the pain. I know its impossible and irreversible but at least i can get to control the pain. Thanks.

    • Dear Zeeda,

      Sorry to know about your condition.
      I suggest the following :
      1. Pl. see a good orthopedic doctor for an assessment of your hurting joints.
      2. Get X-rays and scans if required to determine extent of injury.
      3. Take appropriate medications as advised.
      4. Take physiotherapy consultations for joint mobility and reduction of pain. In this step, Portea can help you to get better.

      Pl. contact us for any clarifications.

      Dr. Udaya Kumar Maiya.
      Medical Director.

  4. Greetings,

    My sister-in-law is bedridden for almost two weeks now, she’s unable to stand up and unable to walk, she feel very painful the minute she wants to get up…she is 65…
    Please advise…tq



    • Hey Adzni,

      Our physiotherapists can help your sister-in-law
      Share your contact details and the city where you need the service, our executive will get in touch with you.

      Team Portea

  5. Hi,
    I am Thomas working as a teacher in Karimnagar (Telangana). For the last 2 years I am having a lot of pain on my both knees and ankle. The pain agrivates in the evening because I always stand and teach. I am 50 years old and my weight is above 80. What can be done? Please advice me.

    • Hello Mr Thomas.

      I have noted your clinical picture. (what is your height?)
      Have you seen a doctor ? You may be having varicose veins, or simple osteoarthritis.
      Once other illnesses have been excluded by a clinical examination, I can give you treatment guidelines for pain.

      Dr Udaya Kumar,
      Medical Director

  6. Sir,

    I am suffering with Obesity (over Weight & Knee pain ( Arthritis ) My Particulars are as under:-

    Age : 58 Years
    Weight : 86 kg. ( Height : 5′ 5″ )
    Service : Chief Manager in IFFCO Kalol Unit
    Work : Seating in office

    Please guide me.

    Best Regards,

  7. Hi,

    I have had an accident in my childhood for which medication and treatment was neglected, over the years I have been moving around with a limp and slight pain on my right leg..x’rays and mri has been down which results in degeneration of the bones and cartiledge as mentioned above…I am 46 years old and have taken alot of opinions from different Orthopedic surgeons,all have advised total hip replacement surgery.

    The last surgeon I had visited had informed me about the repetition of the surgery and states that this is not a one time operation if done at an early age and recommends me to do physiotherapy and exercise so as to delay the surgery for some more years to avoid repetition and huge expenses incurred and risk.

    I am all confused, I am in terrible pain no doubt happens if i walk too much..but I can still stand straight and move around freely.

    Please suggest whether with the help of exercise and physiotherapy i can avoid the surgery at this stage and delay it further for some more 5 to 10 or even 15 years according to my age.

    Awaiting your favourable response.

    Many thanks
    Jeanetta Osbourne

    • Hey Jeanetta,
      I am very sorry for your predicament.
      Looks like prolonged unattended care to your hip caused this problem.
      Looks like you have developed osteoarthritis of the hip.
      Now, physiotherapy can make you better but can never reverse the situation.
      If surgery is a must, than doing it now when you are in good health is better than doing it later when rehabilitation may be a problem in 10 to 15 years.
      I know it is a difficult decision, but you have to take a firm decision and go ahead.

      Dr Udaya Kumar
      Medical Director

  8. Hi,
    my mother is 52 yrs old. She suffering from knee pain vry much. Is there any team member in Bharatpur Rajasthan,pls tl me…..

    • Hello Ravindra,

      We are sorry to inform you that we do not have our services in Bharatpur.
      We will inform you incase we launch

      For any other queries you can call us on 080-33197515

      Team Portea

  9. Dear,
    My mother has knee pain for years and I would like to get her diagnosed by your expert physiotherapist if it will help to reduce her pain.
    Please inform if your services are available in Jalandhar.
    Deepak Jindal

    • Hello Deepak,

      We are sorry to inform you but we do not have our services in Jalandhar.
      Will inform you incase we launch our services there.

      We do provide services in Delhi/NCR and Chandigarh.
      You can reach us on 080-33197515 to know more.

      Team Portea

    • Hello Jyoti,

      We are sorry to inform you that we do not have our service in Sonipat but you can avail of our services in Gurgaon, Delhi & Noida
      To reach out to us for more info call us on 080-33197515

      Team Portea

    • Hello Sudhir,

      We are home healthcare service providers, we do not have a centre, we come home and deliver the service.
      We have physiotherapy services in Lucknow.

      You can reach us on 080-33197515

      Team Portea

  10. hi,
    my mom is suffering from serious joint pain (OA) in her right knee from last 2-3yrs. She had fell down which might be the reason because she is 52yrs old, 4.9 height & 42 kg weight which is not that much high.
    Can we cure her without any surgery. We dont want to do any surgery.
    Do you have any treatment which can help her to walk like earlier?

    Please Help.

  11. I am 53 yrs old suffering from severe pain on to my left knee. Diagnosed and come to know that I am suffering from O A. I am 80 kgs weight and 5.5 height. I doubt whether I will be able to spend huge money to get rid of this problem. pl advise.


    • Hello Varadarajan,

      Our expert Physiotherapists at Portea can help you get rid of the problem. You can reach us on 080 – 33554554 or mail us on care@portea.com

      We do give occasional discounts on certain packages. You can ring us up and enquire about the same or share your contact details and someone from our team will call and explain the same.

      Team Portea

  12. My mother is 80 years old suffering from osteoarthritis since 5 years. Six months back she fell and her leg near ankle. Got frame ctured and it was diagnosed with plaster and she is alright by the grace of Almighty but could not stand by herself nor walk. Can her problem be curable at this age. Her weight might be 80 kgs. She is a patient of kidney, bp, thyroid. Plz.advise. Regards, Hamdani.

    • Hello Hamdani,

      Osteoarthritis is not curable, it can be controlled and its progress can be slowed down with medications. To help your mother move about, physiotherapy may be useful. We need to assess her and if feasible physiotherapy can be started. As you have mentioned, her other conditions will influence the effectiveness of any therapy we may give.

      To consult a physiotherapist you can reach us on 080 – 33197515 or mail us on care@portea.com

      Dr. Maiyya
      Medical Director,
      Portea Medical


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