Let’s talk joints and bones for a minute. The bones in your body are individual pieces that are held together with muscle. When two or more bones are connected, but must move, then it is called a joint. The tissue and cartilage between the bones that help hold them together prevent them from rubbing against each other wears away over time and we end up with bone rubbing on bone. When this starts to happen, around the age of 45 for men and 50 for women, osteoarthritis begins to develop, and it becomes painful each time we have to move the two bones that are rubbing against each other.
The other cause is as we age, we lose muscle mass – around 10% for each 10 years over the age of 40. Now the bones don’t have as much muscle supporting them and can come together which can cause pain too.
Osteoarthritis is called the “wear and tear” arthritis because it is caused from years of using (and in some cases abusing) those bones and joints. For example, if you are overweight, it puts and additional load on your lower body joints that they were never made to support. For each 10 pounds overweight, it can put anywhere from 30 to 40 pounds of additional pressure on your joints which over time wears down the cushioning even faster. In these cases, the knees are usually the first to go.