Osteoarthritis as an Age-Related Psychological Disorder

Table of Contents


  • Osteoarthritis: a common age-related medical condition;
  • Typically develops at the age of 60;
  • A common problem in aging patients worldwide;
  • Significant deterioration of quality of life;
  • The necessity to assist vulnerable aging patients.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common musculoskeletal disorders affecting the aging demographic and reducing the quality of their lives tremendously due to painful experiences that it entails (Hochberg et al., 2019). The disorder affects patients significantly due to the immense amount of pain and the resulting psychological distress that it causes, as well as the restricted movement options.

Causes and Main Factors in Disorder Development

  • Development mechanism: weariness of cartilage;
  • Cartilage: tissue allowing for smooth joint motion;
  • Age as the main factor in the breakdown of cartilage;
  • Obesity is another important factor causing osteoarthritis;
  • Other factors: genetics and bone deformities.

Among the main factors causing osteoarthritis to occur, the weariness of the cartilage deserves to be mentioned. In turn, the observed phenomenon takes place due to the old age of a patient.

Key Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

  • Pain in joints during movements;
  • Stiffness of joints after prolonged inactivity;
  • Tenderness of joint when pressured upon lightly;
  • Noticeable loss of flexibility in the joint;
  • Sense of grating and frequent bone spurs.

The key symptoms that indicate the development of osteoarthritis include pain in joints, as well as their swelling and overall difficulty making movements (Hochberg et al., 2019). Tenderness of joints and loss in its flexibility are also common markers of the disease.

Common Problems and Conditions in People with Osteoarthritis

  • Problems walking, moving, and performing routine daily activities;
  • Joint pain and the related painful experiences in the areas that are either stiff or tender to the touch;
  • Multiple complications are caused by osteoarthritis, including not only increasing stiffness but also depression and sleep disruptions.

Apart from affecting the quality of patients’ lives and causing them significant pain, osteoarthritis may also entail several comorbid health issues. Specifically, psychological problems that may range from minor anxiety to severe depression become increasingly probable (Liu et al., 2017). Therefore, introducing a nursing intervention aimed at supporting patients emotionally and psychologically is vital to prevent the described effect from taking place.

Nursing Management Techniques for Patients with Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoarthritis: currently an irreversible disorder;
  • The focus of the existing treatments: pain reduction and distress management;
  • Medications: painkillers, such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol);
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for reducing inflammation (Liu et al., 2017);
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta) for reducing the probability of depression in patients.

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis presently remains incurable since the weariness of the joint cannot be addressed on a surgical level. For this reason, most interventions include the application of painkillers and strategies for pain management.

Conclusion and Recommendations

  • Osteoarthritis: currently an incurable disease developing with age;
  • Opportunities for treatment: pain management medications and therapies;
  • Main factors: age causing the breakdown of cartilage;
  • Recommendations: moderate level of activity and focus on pain management;
  • Use of supporting tools for free movement;
  • Communication with healthcare and nursing experts.

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common disorders observed in aging patients. Caused by the weariness of the joint and the further development of pain and swelling in the specified area due to friction, osteoarthritis reduces a patient’s mobility to a significant extent. In addition, the disease may cause patients to develop psychological health problems that may vary from mild stress to severe depression. Therefore, loacting an individual approach toward pain management should remain the priority in nursing as the tool for addressing the disorder.


Hochberg, M. C., Guermazi, A., Guehring, H., Aydemir, A., Wax, S., Fleuranceau-Morel, P.,… Eckstein, F. (2019). Effect of intra-articular Sprifermin vs placebo on femorotibial joint cartilage thickness in patients with osteoarthritis: The FORWARD randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 322(14), 1360-1370. Web.

Liu, Q., Niu, J., Li, H., Ke, Y., Li, R., Zhang, Y., & Lin, J. (2017). Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-7. Web.

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