The term osteoarthritis (joint wear and tear) is used to describe one of the most common diseases of the skeletal and locomotor system.
Joint degeneration in osteoarthritis
Joint degeneration is when a joint wears down more than it should, which damages the protective layer, the cartilage and sometimes the underlying bone. This condition occurs mainly in the hands, shoulders, knee or the hip joints.
Have you ever noticed your limbs somehow feel rusty after you've been sitting for a long time? Or sometimes it hurts when you've been on your feet all day? If you often experience pain in these situations, this could be a sign of wear and tear of your joints, also known as osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a typical sign of aging. In most cases, it is due to having overworked our joints for many years, however, using your joints too little can also damage them. It's a matter of getting the right balance. Once osteoarthritis has started, there are ways you can manage it.
Signs & Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Joint pain is typically the first sign of osteoarthritis and it is usually aggravated by cold, damp weather, or loading the joint. Abrupt movements feel particularly unpleasant.
Causes & Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the tribute we pay to old age. Genetic predisposition, obesity, congenital deformity of the hip (CDH), and overuse in high-performance sports can also play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. Other causes are diseases or injuries that permanently deform the joint (post-traumatic osteoarthritis).
Treatment & Prevention of Osteoarthritis
Small changes in your everyday habits can have positive effects on your joints!
Osteoarthritis patients should feel free to move around – cycling, swimming, and Nordic walking are actually recommended, as the diseased joint still produces nutrients and lubricants during moderate sporting activity and doesn't become easily inflamed. Adequate movement and a healthy diet can also lead to weight loss. This reduces the risk of further joint conditions. You should aim for a BMI (BMI = body mass index) of < 30.
Besides exercise, physical therapy, and medication, functional treatment is an important element, as orthoses help promote mobility, blood circulation, and relieve stress on the affected joint.
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