By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs as the protective cartilage in the joints wears down over time – it’s more common in people over 50 and people who are overweight. The cartilage essentially wears away.

When working properly, the cartilage actually acts like a cushioning surface in the body but when it’s damaged a person can actually have areas of a joint where bone rubs against bone.

The most common symptom is, not surprisingly, pain.

In addition, with activity, there is a limited range of motion, stiffness, tenderness, and swelling around the knee. Often, people will say they feel as if the knee is going to give out.

Exercise with minimal weight bearing – like swimming – and weight loss can make a big difference.

We recommend switching to sports that are less traumatic.

When we talk about osteoarthritis, part of it is lifestyle and part of it is medical treatment to do well.