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Causes of Osteoarthritis

Your bones are cushioned by cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber while providing padding for protection. The cartilage is encased in a small area that leaves room for flexibility and elasticity when you move.

The area is protected by a synovial lining and is filled with a thick fluid, which lubricates your joints. When the synovial fluid breaks down, the cartilage begins to break down.

When that cartilage starts to fray, bits of it may break off and irritate the soft tissues such as muscles or tendons. As the cartilage wears down, the bones begin to rub against each other, sometimes causing crippling pain. This is known medically as osteoarthritis.

The exact cause of this wear and tear is unknown. What researchers do know is that it worsens with age and in some cases, seems to have a genetic component.

Because osteoarthritis is a "wear-and-tear" problem, excess weight can contribute to its development. When your body is carrying extra weight, the joints have a tougher time supporting you because it puts a strain on certain parts of your body, such as your knees and hips.

If weight is causing your osteoarthritis, then we have some good news for you! Research has shown that patients who lose as little as 11 pounds can reduce joint pain and significantly slow the degenerative process of osteoarthritis.

Not everyone who develops osteoarthritis will have a weight problem, however. Many sufferers simply developed the disease when a sports injury or work-related injury set the wheels in motion for cartilage breakdown and consequent osteoarthritis. Many scientists believe that developing osteoarthritis (even a mild form) is simply a fact of life.

If you have suffered a work or sports-related injury, make sure you allow your body to repair itself fully before returning to that activity again. Some people who suffer from osteoarthritis do so because they repeatedly participate in activities that exacerbate their joint pain and thus cause an escalation in this disease’s effect on their body.