National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Additional Resources continued...
American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314–1488
Phone: 703–684–2782 or
800–999–APTA (2782) (free of charge)
This association is a national professional organization
representing physical therapists, allied personnel, and students. Its
objectives are to improve research, public understanding, and education in the
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357-0669
Phone: 404–872–7100 or
800–568–4045 (free of charge) or your local chapter
(listed in the telephone directory)
This is the major voluntary organization devoted to arthritis.
The foundation publishes free informational brochures on various types of
arthritis, including osteoarthritis, as well as a monthly magazine for members
that provides up-to-date information on all forms of arthritis. The foundation
also can provide addresses and phone numbers for local chapters and physician
and clinic referrals.
Acupuncture – the use of fine needles inserted
at specific points on the skin. Primarily used for pain relief, acupuncture may
be a helpful component of an osteoarthritis treatment plan for some people.
Analgesics – medications designed to relieve
pain. Pure analgesics do not have an effect on inflammation.
Biomarkers – physical signs or biological
substances that indicate changes in bone or cartilage. Doctors believe they may
one day be able to use biomarkers for diagnosing osteoarthritis before it
causes noticeable joint damage and for monitoring the progression of the
disease and its responsiveness to treatment.
Bone spurs – small growths of bone that can
occur on the edges of a joint affected by osteoarthritis. These growths are
also known as osteophytes.
Bouchard’s nodes – small, bony knobs
associated with osteoarthritis of the hand that can occur on the middle joints
of the fingers.
Cartilage – a hard but slippery coating on the
end of each bone. The breakdown of joint cartilage is the primary feature of
Chondrocytes – components of cartilage.
Chondrocytes are cells that produce cartilage, are found throughout cartilage,
and help it stay healthy as it grows. Sometimes, however, they release certain
enzymes that destroy collagen and other proteins.
Chondroitin sulfate – a naturally existing
substance in joint cartilage that is believed to draw fluid into the cartilage.
Chondroitin is often taken in supplement form along with glucosamine as a
treatment for osteoarthritis. See the “glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate”
section under Complementary and Alternative Therapies for more information.
Collagen – a family of fibrous proteins that
are components of cartilage. Collagens are the building blocks of skin, tendon,
bone, and other connective tissues.
Corticosteroids – powerful anti-inflammatory
hormones made naturally in the body or man made for use as medicine.
Corticosteroids may be injected into the affected joints to temporarily reduce
inflammation and relieve pain.
COX-2 inhibitors – a relatively new class of
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are formulated to relieve
pain and inflammation. For information about the risk posed by NSAIDs, see
“NSAIDs” in the “How Is Osteoarthritis Treated?” section.