Osteoarthritis (OA) describes the degeneration of a joint that involves loss of cartilage, reduction of joint space, increased bone growth (sub-chondral growth, osteophytes) around the joint and other symptoms which include pain, inflammation, morning stiffness or laxity of the joint and others. The most common causes of osteoarthritis are mechanical which can be due to many different reasons (former joint fracture, diseases of the joint, hyperlaxity due to ligament insufficiency etc.). It can occur in any joint, but most often affects large joints such as knees and hips as well as the joints in the spine and the fingers. Further contributing factors to increased OA are being overweight and a lack of muscular stability around the joint.
Is it always painful?
Degenerated joints do not always hurt. The pain sometimes fades or increases, while the degeneration itself has not changed much. Pain patterns can change and involve not only the joint itself but the muscles, ligaments and soft tissues around the joint.
In early stages of degeneration, physiotherapy combined with active medical training and home exercises is the treatment of choice. In painful inflammatory cases anti-inflammatory medication might be required. In cases of severe degeneration with a lot of pain; for many joints a total joint replacement is required.
We, at AktivOrtho, provide a thorough clinical examination and a tailored treatment plan. In many cases this can prevent joint replacement; in other cases the active treatment can help to identify who needs surgery and who does not. This will definitely improve the results of surgery, if surgery is required.
After possible joint replacement surgery, orthopaedic rehabilitation will be necessary to restore proper joint stability and movement.