What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a rheumatic disease. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear which increases with age. The cartilage between the ball and socket only has a limited regeneration capacity. The layer of cartilage in osteoarthritis is considerably thinner and maybe completely damaged in certain areas. The elastic and shock absorbing character of cartilage is completely restricted as a result. This wearing can take place over a long period of time without showing any symptoms. Dormant osteoarthritis can be catalysed by overexertion or influenza and turn into active osteoarthritis. Painful inflammations, swelling and severe pain only emerge in active osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Joint pain is characteristic for osteoarthritis, which slowly decreases with movement but recurs after longer periods of strain. Another symptom is swollen joints which are usually painful when pressure is applied to the affected areas.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Wearing of the joints as a result of strenuous physical activity is only one of the causes of osteoarthritis. The development of osteoarthritis is accelerated by defective skeletal posture (knock-knees or bowlegs), untreated meniscus injuries and competitive sports. Being considerably overweight for a longer period of time can also lead to the development of osteoarthritis.
All of this causes the joint to be more mechanically overloaded and worn out.
The knees, hips, spinal column, ankles and fingers of the hand used most for working are particularly susceptible to osteoarthritis.
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Treatment of Osteoarthritis
There is still no therapy to treat the causes of wearing of the joints. The treatment of osteoarthritis involves preventing inflammation, reducing pain and improving function.
Regular movement, which is not too intense, can slow down the progression of osteoarthritis. The nutrient supply of cartilage is improved by physical activity. This supply does not occur through blood vessels; instead it takes places as a result of stability factors caused by joint fluid.
Physical Therapy for Osteoarthritis
- Warmth (warm towels or hot packs)
- High frequency electric current
- Infrared light
Treatment of Osteoarthritis with Medication
Ointments and anti-rheumatics can relieve the pain.
Operation to Treat Osteoarthritis
It is possible to smoothen cartilage surfaces or to remove abraded cartilage and pieces of bone with the help of endoscopic operation techniques. It is often necessary to used joint prostheses with advanced osteoarthritis.
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