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Flashcards in Osteoarthritis/Test 4 Deck (21):

Osteoarthritis is

a progressive non-inflammatory disease that affects joints and surrounding tissues. No single cause has been identified.


Modifiable risk factor for osteoarthritis:

Obesity- moderate exercise and weight control has been shown to decrease the likelihood of disease development and progression.


Cartilage destruction can begin between ages

20 and 30. More than half >65 years have xray evidence in at least one joint.
-before age 50, men affected more than women. Incidence greater in women after age 50


Etiology and Pathophysiology-

*OA results from cartilage damage and narrowing of the joint space


No significant inflammatory component but

synovial fluid may become inflamed from cartilage and bone erosion- loss of cartilage and body cannot repair cartilage because of ongoing destruction. Known to involve formation of new joint tissue in response to cartilage destruction


Etiology and pathophysiology- cartilage and bony growth

increase at joint margins. Resulting incongruity in joint surfaces. Contributes to reduction in motion.



-inflammatory change contributes to early pain and stiffness.
-later in disease pain results from contact between exposed bony joint surfaces after articular cartilage has completely deteriorated.


Types and causes: Idiopathic (Primary)

-etiology unknown
-age is factor (wear and tear on joints)



any condition that damages cartilage-
*Obesity, athletics, dancing, performing repetitive actions and infections. (Trauma, mechanical stress, inflammation, joint instability, neurologic disorders, skeletal deformities, hematologic/endocrine disorders and use of selected drugs)


Prevention is not

possible. Community education should focus on- alteration of modifiable risk factors, weight loss, occupational and recreational hazards.
*Athletic instruction and physical fitness program safety measures


Nursing assessment:

*and duration of pt's joint pain and stiffness.
-questions on extent these symptoms affect abilities to perform ADLs
-pain relieving practices
-physical exam of affected joints (tenderness, swelling, limitation of movement, crepitation). Compare to the unaffected side.


Systemic S/S:

-fatigue, fever, organ involvement are not present in OA
-important distinction between OA and inflammatory joint disorders such as RA


Nursing Implementation/Acute intervention:

-Usually treated on an outpatient basis
-health assessment questionnaires are often used to pinpoint areas of difficulty


Frequent complaints of OA patients-

*limitation of function
*frustration of coping with physical difficulties on a daily basis


Clinical manifestations of joints:

-most commonly involved joints.
*joints of fingers, weight bearing joints (hips, knees), metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of foot, cervical and lower lumbar vertebrae


Nursing Assessment-Joints

*asymmetrical- joint pain is predominant symptom- ranging from mild discomfort to significant disability and loss of function.
*pain worsens with joint use- early stages: rest relieves pain. Later stages- pain and rest and sleep is disturbed because of pain and increased joint discomfort.
*Bones worse as barometric pressure decrease.
*pain may be referred to groin, buttock, or medial side of thigh or knee.
*Sitting down becomes difficult, as does getting up from a chair when hips are lower than knees.
*Joint stiffness occurs after periods of rest or static position- early morning stiffness usually resolves within 30 minutes. Overactivity can cause mild joint effusion, temporarily increase stiffness.


Nursing assessment: deformity-Knee

OA often leads to joint malalignment- result of cartilage loss in medical compartment. Bowlegged appearance, altered gait, and crepitation (in 90%)


Nursing assessment deformity- Hip

*Advanced hip OA may cause one leg to be shorter


Nursing assessment deformity- Hand's

*Heberden's nodes-DIP joints
*Bouchard's nodes- PIP joints- deformity : red, swollen, tender nodules. Does not cause significant loss of fx. Visible disfigurement can be distressing can appear as early as age 40. Tends to be seen in family members.


Diagnostic studies:

-In early OA tests- detect joint changes on bone scan, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
-In progressed OA- xray findings: will show joint space narrowing, bony sclerosis & osteophyte formation.
*Changes do not always correlate with degree of pain patient is experiencing
*No lab abnormalities are a specific diagnostic indicator of OA- serological and synovial fluid examination will be essentially normal


Non pharmacologic interventions:

-managing pain and inflammation
-preventing disability
-maintaining and improving joint function
-achieve independence in self care and maintain optimal role function
-use pharmacologic strategies as an adjunct to manage pain