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Ann Intern Med. 2000 Nov 7;133(9):726-37.

Osteoarthritis: new insights. Part 2: treatment approaches.

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Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Room A203, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people in the United States. It is a complex disease whose etiology bridges biomechanics and biochemistry. Evidence is growing for the role of systemic factors, such as genetics, diet, estrogen use, and bone density, and local biomechanical factors, such as muscle weakness, obesity, and joint laxity. These risk factors are particularly important in the weight-bearing joints, and modifying them may help prevent osteoarthritis-related pain and disability. Major advances in management to reduce pain and disability are yielding a panoply of available treatments ranging from nutriceuticals to chondrocyte transplantation, new oral anti-inflammatory medications, and health education. This article is part 2 of a two-part summary of a National Institutes of Health conference that brought together experts in osteoarthritis from diverse backgrounds and provided a multidisciplinary and comprehensive summary of recent advances in the prevention of osteoarthritis onset, progression, and disability. Part 2 focuses on treatment approaches; evidence for the efficacy of commonly used oral therapies is reviewed and information on alternative therapies, including nutriceuticals and acupuncture, is presented. Biomechanical interventions, such as exercise and bracing, and behavioral interventions directed toward enhancing self-management are reviewed. Current surgical approaches are described and probable future biotechnology-oriented approaches to treatment are suggested.

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