Degenerative Arthritis or Degenerative Joint disease or Osteoarthrosis is the most common joint disorder, which is due to aging and wears and tear on a joint.
Joints are lubricated by a thin layer of fluid (synovial fluid) that acts like oil in an engine to keep moving parts gliding smoothly.
When the Articular cartilage wears out or is damaged or the joint fluid is abnormal, problems develop and joints often become stiff and painful – leading to Arthritis. There are many types of arthritis, but the basic problem is the same in all types: the joint surfaces are worn out or not moving properly.
- Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones at the joints and allows bones to glide over one another.
- If the cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- Bony spurs or extra bone may form around the joint. The ligaments and muscles around the joint become weaker and stiffer.
- Hereditary: tends to run in families.
- Being Overweight: increases the risk of OA in the hip, knee, ankle, and foot joints because extra weight causes more wear and tear.
- Fractures or other joint injuries can lead to OA later in life. This includes injuries to the cartilage and ligaments in the joints.
- Work Demands jobs that involve kneeling or squatting for more than an hour a day put one at the highest risk. Jobs that involve lifting, climbing stairs, or walking also put one at risk.
- Medical conditions that can lead to OA include:
- Bleeding disorders that cause bleeding in the joint, such as Hemophilia
- Disorders that block the blood supply near a joint and lead to Avascular Necrosis
- Other types of arthritis, such as chronic Gout, Pseudogout, or Rheumatoid arthritis
- Pain and stiffness in the joints: They are the most common symptoms. The pain is often worse after exercise and when one puts weight or pressure on the joint. Joint pain and progressive stiffness without noticeable swelling, chills, or fever during normal activities probably indicates the gradual onset of osteoarthritis.
- Rubbing, grating, or crackling sound on Joint Movement.
- Some people might not have symptoms, even though x-rays show the changes of OA.
Management is primarily aimed at controlling the Osteoarthritis Symptoms:
- SURGICAL OPTIONS: Depending upon the severity of the disease, surgery is done to replace or repair damaged joints
- Arthroscopic Surgery: to trim torn and damaged cartilage. Arthroscopic surgery is a common orthopedic procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems in joints. Arthroscopic surgery could potentially be performed on any joint.
- Osteotomy: Changing the alignment of a bone to relieve stress on the bone or joint. It is also one method to relieve pain in arthritis, especially of the hip and knee. It is replaced by Joint Replacement in older patients.
- Arthrodesis: Procedure that fuses the bones that form a joint, essentially eliminating the joint. The procedure is commonly referred to as joint fusion. It is usually performed on ankles and wrists, but it can be performed on other joints, including thumbs, toes, fingers, and the spine.
- Joint Replacement: The abnormal bone and lining structures of the involved joint are removed surgically, and new parts are inserted in their places. These new parts may be made of special metal or plastic (certain forms of polyethylene) or specific kinds of carbon-coated implants. The new parts allow the joints to move again with little or no pain. Includes total or partial replacement of the damaged joint with an artificial joint (knee replacement, hip replacement, shoulder replacement, ankle replacement, elbow replacement)
- BRACES: Splints and braces can sometimes support weakened joints. Some prevent the joint from moving; others allow some movement. They should be used only on Therapist recommendations.
- PHYSICAL THERAPY: Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength and the motion of stiff joints, as well as sense of balance. Massage therapy may also help provide short-term pain relief.
- MEDICATIONS: Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help with the symptoms. Drugs include Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen.
- LIFESTYLE CHANGES: Staying active and getting exercise helps maintain joint and overall movement. Besides this, the following things are recommended.
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting rest
- Losing weight if one is overweight
- Protecting the joints