Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative Joint Disease is also sometimes known as osteoarthritis.

While the condition may happen anywhere, one of the most common locations is in the knees. Covering the joints in our knees is a thin layer of protective tissue – called cartilage. This layer, when healthy, allows the bones to smoothly slide against each other, protecting from any damage and allowing the knee to work at full capacity. Over time, and with use, the cartilage breaks down and degenerates. Once the cartilage breaks down, the bones that make up the joint begin to rub directly against one another when used. With this comes the risk of the formation of painful bone spurs, which may begin to lock up the joint.

While wear and tear over time as we age is a common cause of this issue, certain injuries to the knee or other joints could play a role in the degeneration of the cartilage. Those who have jobs that require heavy use of the knees may be at a higher risk of Degenerative Joint Disease, due to the excess strain and use of the knees. Those suffering from obesity may also hold a higher risk, due to the extra stress placed on the knees needed to support body weight.

Young male trainer giving instructions to a woman in a gym
Playful faimly outdoors walking

Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease include:

  • Pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Trouble bending or extending the knee
  • Weakness when standing or walking
  • Locking of the knee when walking
  • Overall feelings of pain or discomfort when mobile rather than when at rest.

Treatment largely depends on the severity of the issue. In many cases, physical therapy, medications, injections, or use of a knee brace may be enough to solve the issue. Lifestyle changes, concluding weight loss, may also be suggested or necessary to reduce stress on the knee. When these options have been exhausted to no avail, surgery may be required to address the issue.

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