Osteoarthritis, a disorder that almost everyone will experience as he gets older, is marked by a proliferation of the bone at the joint site. This is of very variable degree. Minor forms of osteoarthritis produce no symptoms or discomfort. The thickening of the finger joints seen in many individuals past age fifty is an example of this form of arthritis. In a small percentage, thickening leads to deformity and moderate amounts of pain, the latter most likely to be experienced on arising in the morning.
Other joints that may be involved in osteoarthritis in the elderly are the hip and the knee -the more so if overweight is present. Symptoms include mild achiness and stiffness which are made worse by resting or by exposure to cold. Other common sites at which osteoarthritis occurs are the joints of the spine, the shoulders, and the elbows. When necessary, the condition is treated by such simple drugs as aspirin and its derivatives, and by local heat.