Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common degenerative joint disease and one of the most common medical conditions. X-ray studies have shown OA to affect about 50% of the adult population. OA can affect any joint but most commonly affects the weight bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine. OA often affects other high use joints like the ankles, shoulders, wrists, hands, and digits. OA usually starts to develop in your 20's and becomes symptomatic in your 40's.
OA is believed to be caused by over-use, old age, and wear and tear. This is true to some degree. However, there are many other contributing factors that affect the onset, progression, outcome, and treatment of OA. Think about this; what causes one knee or hip to develop OA while the opposite side functions normally? If OA were only caused by over-use, old age, and wear and tear wouldn't both knees or both hips be affected roughly equally? The answer to these questions likely comes down to physical mechanics, ergonomics, lymphatic flow, and detoxification of the individual joints.
Effective treatment and prevention must be based on a thorough assessment of the causes and contributing factors like nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, environmental allergies, digestive system dysfunction, and ergonomics. Treatment and prevention can start at any age but when prevention begins early in life the results are maximized and many other degenerative diseases may be prevented as a pleasant side effect of the treatments. That being said, it is never too late to prevent the progression, improve the function, and reduce the pain in your joints due to osteoarthritis.