MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Bones provide support for the body and aid in its movement. The place where two or more bones meet is called a joint. Joints may be immovable, slightly movable, or freely movable. A synovial membrane surrounds movable joints. Inside the membrane, synovial fluid lubricates and nourishes joint tissue such as cartilage. Articular cartilage is a tough, slippery covering on the ends of the bones which allows smooth joint movement. Joints give the body flexibility, precision of movement, and help in supporting the body's weight. Arthritis is any disorder that affects joints. It can cause pain and inflammation. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It's usually seen in older people. The joints most commonly affected are in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Often the cause of osteoarthritis is unknown. But it may be due to a combination of the following risk factors-- a family tendency for this condition, being overweight, a joint injury such as a fracture, repetitive strain from activities such as sports, and problems with the bones and a joint not lining up properly. Over many years, these factors can wear away the articular cartilage. The exposed bony surfaces rub together. This, along with the growth of bony projections called bone spurs, causes swelling, pain, and limited movement of the joints. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but a combination of treatment options control the symptoms. For example, medications can reduce joint inflammation and pain. Common medications include Acetaminophen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS. An ice pack may also reduce joint pain. Lifestyle changes, such as resting the affected joint and losing weight if necessary may help slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. Other lifestyle changes include physical therapy exercises and education to manage osteoarthritis on your own. Physical therapy exercises along with low impact exercise such as walking and swimming increases muscle strength and keeps joints limber. Braces can help with joint support and alignment to reduce joint pain. Another treatment option is the injection of hyaluronic acid into the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the joint's synovial fluid. It helps lubricate the joint and allows the bones to slide over each other more easily. For severe osteoarthritis a doctor may recommend a surgical procedure such as joint resurfacing to remove loose bone or cartilage and bone spurs, or an osteotomy, or bone removal, may be recommended to realign deformed joints. In some cases the arthritic joint may need to be replaced with an artificial joint. For more information, talk to a health care provider.