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Final part of our Joint Pain review takes a further look at Osteoarthritis - diagnosis and treatment

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Joint pain Part 3

Osteoarthritis: the most common cause of joint pain


Symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain, stiffness and sometimes swelling of the joints. The pain is exacerbated by activity and relieved by rest. The pain of osteoarthritis tends to get worse throughout the day. Joints may not move easily. There may be a crunching feeling in the joints. Joints may make creaking sounds called crepitations. As osteoarthritis progresses, the joints may become misshapen and look knobby, and they may become unstable.



There is no single test that can check for osteoarthritis, so a GP will ask about symptoms and examine the joint and will look for bony outgrowths, swelling, creaking, instability, and reduced movement of the joint. X-rays only give limited information and in the early stages of osteoarthritis, joints may look normal.


Medication for osteoarthritis

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, however certain medication will relieve symptoms. I discussed medications for osteoarthritis in this Health Column in the past, so I won’t go into detail here, but the main summary point is that painkillers are not often effective enough as the condition progresses.


Surgery should only be considered when all other options have been tried. Surgical options available have advanced recently. Some options such as realignment and hip resurfacing are available even if you have only mild osteoarthritis. Hip resurfacing is an alternate to hip replacement and is more often used in younger patients.

For a particularly painful joint, a replacement operation may be needed. This is mostly done for the hip and knee joints, and both have high rates of success. With proper selection of patients, 95% of hip and knee replacements have excellent results with 95% of replacement joints lasting 15 years. 85% of hip and knee replacements are due to osteoarthritis.

 1st Contact Physio

 1st Contact Physio with Chartered Physiotherapist, Kevin D’Arcy. MISCP. Located in the private consultation suite, upstairs at Whelehans Pharmacy, 38 Pearse St, Mullingar


Physiotherapy is €60 for initial session and €50 for follow up sessions, Kevin offers reduced physiotherapy rates for Medical Card holders, children, and sports clubs. Book your appointment on the Whelehans website or Call Kevin on 0873813473 or Email


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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