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Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease, with a variable course and outcome, which depends on several circumstances. One of the most important is whether the disease is diagnosed and treated early. The course of the osteoarthritis varies depending on its location.
Some patients have deformities in the small joints of the hands, practically without noticing any pain, while others have significant pain in the initial phases of the disease, then disappearing as the joint deformity appears.
The most disabling in the hand is the osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb (rhizarthrosis of the thumb), since it makes hand pressure movements difficult.
In osteoarthritis of load bearing joints, like the knee or hip, the course is always progressive, although it can be slow (several years) in some patients. The progression varies depending on the hygienic-health measures that are taken to protect yourself (weight reduction, avoid repetitive movements, etc.).
The course of the osteoarthritis in the vertebral column (spondylosis, spondyloarthrosis or spinal osteoarthritis) is more unpredictable. Some patients have a chronic and progressive course, while others follow an intermittent course with periods of exacerbation (flare-up) or remission of the symptoms. There are patients with radiographical signs of vertebral osteoarthritis who have practically no symptoms.