The risk of OA increases greatly in individuals over the age of 50. It is a degenerative disease, and is seen in patients who are older, as they have had more use of their joints than younger individuals.
Articular cartilage destruction occurs due to biomechanical stress, aging, and genetic factors.
Factors such as obesity, muscle strength, and joint stability, structure and alignment can lead to biomechanical stress.
Unlike in rheumatoid arthritis, OA presents with asymmetric joint involvement.
Unlike in rheumatoid arthritis where pain improves with use, in OA pain improves with rest.
Patients with OA complain of morning stiffness that lasts a short time (usually under 30 minutes). This is unlike patients with RA who will typically complain of morning stiffness that lasts greater than 30 minutes.
Crepitus is an audible or palpable crackling that occurs upon joint movement. This grating sensation is caused by loose cartilage particles in the joint area that contributes to stiffness.
OA affects the DIP and PIP joints. Contrast this to RA, which affects the PIP, MCP, and joints of the feet (MTP). Heberden’s nodes (affecting the DIP joint) and Bouchard’s nodes (affecting the PIP joint) can be seen, which are nodes that appear red, swollen, and tender.
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