What are the 4 stages of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition that can cause pain and disability. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears away. This can lead to bone rubbing on bone, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion. OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It usually affects the hands, neck, lower back, knees, and hips.

The progression of OA typically follows a predictable pattern, with four distinct stages.

Stage 1 – Mild OA

In the early stages of OA, the cartilage is slowly beginning to wear away, leading to minor aches and pains. Joint mobility may also be slightly reduced. People with mild OA might not even realize they have it and may not need treatment.

Stage 2 – Moderate OA

In this stage, the cartilage has worn away even more, causing more pain and stiffness. The joints may become swollen and tender to the touch. People with moderate OA may experience difficulty with daily activities such as walking and climbing stairs.

Stage 3 – Severe OA

At this stage, the cartilage has almost completely worn away. This can lead to bone rubbing on bone, which can cause severe pain and stiffness. People with severe OA may find it difficult to move the affected joint.

Stage 4 – End-Stage OA

This is the final stage of OA, when the joint has been severely damaged. There is usually no cartilage left and the bones have been damaged to the point where they no longer move properly. People with end-stage OA are usually unable to use the affected joint and may require joint replacement surgery.

OA can be a debilitating condition, but it’s important to remember that it can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication, and physical therapy. If you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of OA, make sure to speak to your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow down the progression of the condition and reduce pain and disability.

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