Osteoarthritis Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.

Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.

Osteoarthritis often gradually worsens, and no cure exists. But staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.

Causes Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis usually happens gradually over time. Some risk factors that might lead to it include:

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Joint injury
  • Joints that are not properly formed
  • A genetic defect in joint cartilage
  • Stresses on the joints from certain jobs and playing sports

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. It occurs most often in the hands, knees, hips, and spine.

Warning signs of Osteoarthritis are:

  • Stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone.

No single test can diagnose Osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X-rays
  • Other tests such as blood tests or exams of the fluid in the joints

 Symptoms of osteoarthritis:

Osteoarthritis develops slowly. For many the first signs are joints that ache after physical workout or exercise. As the disease progresses other most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in a joint
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints
  • Stiffness after periods of inactivity such as sleeping or sitting
  • Flare-ups of pain and inflammation after use of the affected joint
  • Crunching feeling or sound of bone rubbing on bone when the joint is used.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it is important to speak to your doctor to find out if you have OA

Appearance of Osteoarthritis:

OA most often occurs in the following areas:

Because knees are primarily weight-bearing joints they are very commonly affected by OA. If you have OA in your knees, you may feel that these joints are stiff, swollen, and painful, making it hard to walk, climb, and get in and out of chairs and bathtubs.

OA in the hip can cause pain, stiffness, and severe disability. Hips both support the weight of the body and enable movement of your lower body. When you have OA in your hips you may also feel the pain in your groin, inner thigh, or knees. OA in the hip can lead to difficulty moving, bending, and walking.

Fingers and Hands:
When OA occurs in hands and fingers the base of the thumb joint is commonly affected and people experience stiffness, numbness, and aching. Other symptoms of hand and finger OA include:

  • Heberden's nodes: small bony knobs that appear on the end joints of fingers
  • Bouchards's nodes: small bony knobs that appear on the middle joints of fingers

Actual Causes of Osteoarthritis:

While the exact cause of OA is not known joint damage can be due to repetitive movement which is also known as "wear and tear". It can also begin as the result of an injury. Either way with OA there is erosion of the cartilage, the part of the joint that covers the ends of the bones.

  • Cartilage acts as a shock absorber allowing the joint to move smoothly.
  • As cartilage breaks down the ends of the bones becomes thick and the joint may lose its normal shape.
  • With further cartilage breakdown the ends of the bones may begin to rub together which are causing pain.
  • In addition damaged joint tissue can cause the release of certain substances called prostaglandins, which can also contribute to the pain and swelling characteristic of the disease.

Osteoarthritis Case Solution

Factors of risk increasing in the developing Osteoarthritis:

Here are some of the factors which may increase the risk of Osteoarthritis disease in your body which are as follows:

Age is one of the strongest risk factor for OA. Although OA can start in the young ageor adulthood in these cases it is often due to joint injury.

OA affects both men and women. However before the age of 45, OA occurs more frequently in men after the age of 45, OA is more common in women.

Joint injury or overuse caused by physical labor:
Traumatic injury to a joint increases your risk of developing OA in that joint....................

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