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Degenerative joint disease – symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Zwyrodnienia stawówA degenerative joint disease is a chronic disease that millions of people around the world suffer from. It occurs when a bone protective layer, that is a cartilage, is damaged and the organism is unable to repair it. It may apply to any joint in our organism, yet the following are most frequently affected: knee, hip, hand joints and a backbone.

Nowadays we can effectively limit the symptoms of this disease. We can help a patient get rid of a pain and the damaged joint may function well.

Symptoms
The degenerative disease symptoms which develop very slowly and worsen with time are as follows: pain which increases when we rest for a long time and when we use the joint longer, painfulness, a feeling of stiffness (most perceptive in the morning and after it is immobilized), reduction of joint movement, a feeling of giving way, and increase or change of knee edges.

When to visit a doctor?
We should visit a doctor when a feeling of stiffness or pain has been perceptible for a long time and we cannot deal with it.

Causes of degenerative changes
Aside from genetic factors, the causes of the degenerative joint disease are as follows: young age diseases, such as hip dysplasia, previous injuries, and elderly persons are highly likely to sustain it because degenerative changes increase with time. Women more frequently have to deal with this problem, but we are not unable to explain why this is the case, as well as obese people and those who avoid regular physical activities.

Diagnosis
How can we diagnose a degenerative disease? After a precise physical examination carried out by an orthopedist, we perform radiological images thanks to which we can assess the advancement of degenerative changes and implement a relevant treatment.

Treatment
The first medicaments are painkillers which limit unpleasant symptoms and consequently increase patient’s functions. Aside from painkillers, it is important that we introduce a physical therapy in the form of systematic movements which help to improve strength and flexibility of muscles around sick joints. By doing this, we can extend the range of movement and soothe the pain.

If degenerative changes are advanced, we have to turn to joint injections. Modern regeneration medicine preparations – in the form of stem cells – let us stop the growth of the disease and improve the patient’s condition. It is unique because previous treatment limited itself to palliative treatment and had no impact on degeneration process. A stem cell therapy, available in our clinic, is very effective.

When the aforesaid treatment fails and the degenerative changes are very advanced, the last resort is joint endoprosthetics, that is artificial joint transplant.


Anatomy, causes, symptoms and methods of treatments discussed by:
doctor Paweł Bąkowski, Rehasport Clinic orthopedist