Foot Health

Understanding Degenerative Arthritis: A Comprehensive Overview

What is Degenerative Arthritis?

Degenerative arthritis, often referred to as osteoarthritis, is the most common type of arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide. It’s a chronic condition characterized by the deterioration of the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in your joints, leading to pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.

Causes of Degenerative Arthritis

The primary cause of degenerative arthritis is aging, but the condition can also be influenced by other factors. Repetitive use of a joint over the years can wear down the cartilage, leading to arthritis. Besides, obesity, genetics, and previous joint injuries can also increase the risk of developing the disease.

Symptoms of Degenerative Arthritis

Symptoms of degenerative arthritis can vary greatly from person to person, but common signs include joint pain, stiffness, loss of flexibility, a grating sensation during movement, and the formation of bone spurs — hard lumps of bone that form around the affected joint.

Diagnosis of Degenerative Arthritis

Diagnosis of degenerative arthritis involves a physical examination, patient history, and imaging tests such as X-rays or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). These tests help to confirm the diagnosis, determine the stage of the disease, and rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.

Treatment Options for Degenerative Arthritis

While there’s no definitive cure for degenerative arthritis, several treatment options can help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. These include:

Lifestyle Changes

Healthy lifestyle choices can significantly impact the management of degenerative arthritis. Regular exercise can help to maintain joint mobility, and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce pressure on weight-bearing joints.


Several medications, such as analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids, can help manage pain and inflammation associated with degenerative arthritis.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can improve joint mobility and strength. It can also provide techniques to alleviate pain and manage the condition effectively.


In severe cases where other treatments fail to provide relief, surgery such as joint replacement or joint fusion may be recommended.

Living with Degenerative Arthritis

Living with degenerative arthritis can be challenging, but it’s possible to lead a fulfilling life with the right approach. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, good sleep habits, and regular medical check-ups can make a significant difference. Psychological support, including counseling or joining a support group, can also be beneficial.


Degenerative arthritis can be a debilitating condition if left unchecked, but with timely diagnosis and the right treatment strategy, its progression can be slowed, and symptoms managed effectively. Consult with your healthcare provider to devise a personalized plan that best suits your condition and lifestyle.