Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease of the joint, and age is the major risk factor for its development. Clinical manifestation of OA includes joint pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility. Currently, no pharmacological treatments are available to treat this specific joint disease; only symptom-modifying drugs are available. Improvement in imaging technology, identification of biomarkers, and increased understanding of the molecular basis of OA will aid in detecting the early stages of disease. Yet the development of interventional strategies remains elusive and will be critical for effective prevention of OA-associated joint destruction. The potential of cell-based therapies may be applicable in improving joint function in mild to more advanced cases of OA. Ongoing studies to understand the basis of this disease will eventually lead to prevention and treatment strategies and will also be a key in reducing the social and economic burden of this disease. Nurses are advised to provide an integrative approach of disease assessment and management in OA patients' care with a focus on education and implementation. Knowledge and understanding of OA and how this affects the individual patient form the basis for such an integrative approach to all-round patient care and disease management.
Sujata Sovani, MS, Research Assistant, Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA.
Shawn P. Grogan, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Shiley Center for Orthopaedic Research and Education at Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, CA.
The authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests to any commercial company related to this educational activity. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (TR1-01216) and Donald and Darlene Shiley provided the authors with an unrestricted educational grant.