Osteoarthritis: what is it and how to treat the affected joints?

Arthrosis is a dystrophic change in articular cartilage of a non-inflammatory nature. This process occurs in most cases as a result of the natural aging of the body.

According to statistics, arthrosis is considered to be a fairly common disease, since, according to various estimates, from 10% to 15% of people in different countries suffer from it.

This disease is characteristic for the age group of 45 years and more. Although there are exceptions, when arthrosis is observed in a less age group of people, as a result of traumas suffered, serious diseases, fractures, peculiar to athletes to a greater degree.

The most common is arthrosis of the knee, hip and phalangeal joints. At the same time, two types of arthrosis are traditionally distinguished: primary - age-related changes occurring in the body against the general background, and secondary - developed as a result of injury, excessive physical exertion, infectious or other diseases, such as diabetes.

As a rule, patients experience arthritic pain in a state of exertion, but once they sit down or lie down in a comfortable posture for the affected limb, the painful manifestations subside. As the disease progresses, the characteristic crunch of the joints increases, the amplitude of the habitual movements of the joints decreases, and the deformation of the joint components is observed.

Osteoarthritis - what is it?

Why does arthrosis occur, and what is it? The disease develops due to metabolic disorders in the joint, which in turn leads to the fact that cartilage begins to lose elasticity. This can be facilitated by the complete or partial loss of proteoglycans from the composition of the cartilage, this happens, as a rule, due to rather deep cracks in the cartilage itself.

The loss of proteoglycans may occur for another reason: due to the failure of their production by the cells of the joint.

  1. Primary arthrosis - begins without a noticeable cause and affects unchanged articular cartilage simultaneously in many joints; more common in people older than 40 years. Primary arthrosis is also a consequence of a violation of the ratios in the cartilage tissue of the processes of synthesis and degeneration, and is accompanied by a disorder in the function of chondrocytes. In the cartilage with arthritic changes, destruction processes prevail.
  2. The main causes of secondary arthrosis are significant changes in metabolic processes: blood supply, salt metabolism and lymph drainage, hormonal disorders in the absorption of substances necessary for a joint. Hormonal changes leading to arthrosis are often found in women of older and advanced age, when regular changes in hormonal levels occur.

The risk group includes people:

  • overweight;
  • with hereditary disorders;
  • old age;
  • with specific professions;
  • with metabolic disorders in the body;
  • with micronutrient deficiencies;
  • suffered spinal injuries;
  • involved in some sports.

The insidiousness of arthrosis lies in the fact that pathological changes in the cartilage tissue of the affected joint for a long time do not show any symptoms - pain and difficulty of movements become noticeable only at the moment when destruction reaches the periosteum located under the cartilage.

Arthrosis 1, 2 and 3 degrees

There are three degrees of arthrosis of the joints:

  1. Grade 1 disease occurs with almost no noticeable symptoms. Only rarely are painful when moving or other forms of physical activity. Already in the first stage of arthrosis, pathological changes occur in the synovial fluid of the joint, while the muscular system weakens, but does not undergo alterations.
  2. Stage 2 of arthrosis is marked by the onset of joint destruction, the first osteophytes appear. The pain becomes tolerable, but pronounced. The crunch in the affected joints is clearly audible. There is a violation of muscle function due to a violation of reflex neurotrophic regulation.
  3. Grade 3 arthrosis - the articular cartilage is thinned, there are extensive centers of destruction. There is a significant deformation of the articular area with a change in the axis of the limb. Due to the disruption of the normal relationship between the anatomical structures of the joint and the extensive pathological changes in the connective tissue, the ligaments become untenable and shortened, as a result of which the pathological mobility of the joint develops in combination with the restriction of the natural range of motion. There are contractures and subluxations. Periarticular muscles are stretched or shortened, the ability to reduce weakened. Nutrition of the joint and surrounding tissue is impaired.

The course of the disease is characterized by acute and remission stages. This makes it difficult to self-diagnose arthrosis, relying only on their own feelings. Therefore, it is necessary to seek a diagnosis from a doctor.

Signs of

Osteoarthritis has certain first signs, based on its classification, but there is also a generalized list:

  1. Pain syndrome, which increases in wet weather and from freezing;
  2. The joint increases in volume due to deformities and osteophytes;
  3. The temperature of the skin around the diseased joint increases. There may be a general increase in temperature.
  4. The joint begins to swell, there are swelling and seals;
  5. When tension and work of the joint is heard and felt the crunch or creak from the friction of bone formations.

In later stages, pain may also occur in a calm state due to stagnant blood and increased intraosseous pressure.

Symptoms of arthrosis

Osteoarthritis belongs to the category of chronic diseases. Sometimes the disease can go on imperceptibly for years, only occasionally resembling pain with a load on the joint or an awkward movement.

But it also happens that the disease is rapidly developing to a severe stage in just a few months. In any case, it is important to remember that if arthrosis is not treated, its symptoms will increase over time, worsening the quality of life, and in severe cases leading to disability and immobilization.

So, with arthrosis, the main symptoms are as follows:

  1. Aching pain in the joint. It is especially evident when all sorts of loads on the sore joint, while walking on the stairs.
  2. Crush and crunch in the joint. The bite manifests itself during supercooling. The crunch is not strong at first, but if left untreated, others will hear it over time.
  3. The appearance of swelling. This symptom is characteristic of another disease of the joints - arthritis. But with arthrosis, swelling occurs only during exacerbations and is accompanied not by acute pain, but by aching. It is very noticeable and causes considerable inconvenience.

Sometimes the pain in the evening may increase. Sometimes the pain in the joint is very active, its manifestation depends on the loads. In youth, arthrosis can develop from a great deal of physical exertion or after injury.

Diagnosis of arthrosis

Diagnosis is based primarily on the determination of such a predisposing factor as the appearance of pain and discomfort in the movements of the joints. At occurrence, the symptoms of a disease described above, carrying out x-ray, radionuclide and morphological research is possible.

All studies are conducted only in a clinical setting and conclusions should be given only by qualified specialists. On our website you can always ask questions you are interested about the symptoms, treatment and prevention of arthrosis in the comments below.


Preventive measures for the prevention of arthrosis are available to everyone. They include moderate exercise (it should not cause pain in the joints), a balanced diet and daily consumption of all essential trace elements and vitamins.

Often overweight prevents getting rid of arthrosis, so you should be very careful about your diet and, if necessary, follow a diet.

It is also necessary to remember that arthrosis belongs to the category of chronic diseases. In other words, the main criterion for the effectiveness of treatment is achieving long-term remission and improving the patient's condition.

Arthrosis Treatment

With a diagnosed arthrosis treatment at the moment is a serious and urgent problem. And although the number of drugs used for arthrosis is constantly increasing, they have only a symptomatic effect. And while none of the drugs has become a panacea in the treatment of joints.

The plan and methods of treatment depend on the stage and symptoms of arthrosis, often initially relieve pain, as in the second and third stages of the disease they can be very painful. Anti-inflammatory therapy is also possible with concomitant joint inflammation.

The main scheme of drug treatment of arthrosis involves the use of:

  1. NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, Nimesulide, Diclofenac in order to reduce pain and eliminate the inflammatory process.
  2. Drugs from the group of chondroprotectors, which include such active components as glucose and chondroitin.
  3. In case of severe disease, intraarticular injection of corticosteroid preparations may be required: Hydrocortisone, Diprospan. These drugs quickly eliminate the inflammatory process and normalize the mobility of the affected joint.
  4. After elimination of the inflammatory process, intra-articular injection of hyaluronic acid may be required, which acts as a lubricant and prevents friction of the joints, eliminates pain, improves mobility and stimulates the production of its own hyaluronate.

It is only possible to return a joint affected by arthritis only by performing surgery to replace the joint, without surgical intervention, it is not yet possible to do this.

Operative intervention

At the advanced stages of osteoarthritis of the knee joints, medication may no longer be effective, and then a decision should be made about the operational methods of recovery.

There are several types of surgery:

  1. Arthroplasty. Replacing the articular cartilage artificial lining. After surgery, pain is significantly reduced and mobility increases.
  2. Arthroscopy Does not require a long recovery period, well suited for patients of all ages. It is necessary to prevent the destruction of the joint. During the operation, the inflamed areas are removed - this happens with a thin probe and auxiliary tools.
  3. Prosthetics Replacing all components of the joint with artificial analogues. By the way, modern prostheses are made of a special metal that is not rejected by the body. Such transplants have averaged about ten years. After such an intervention, patients can lead a full life.

At home, as prescribed by a physician, the patient may use distractions in the form of ointments, rubbing, gels, herbal infusions. Physiotherapy, acupuncture, hirudotherapy (leech therapy), as well as spa treatment in the remission stage (attenuation of the disease) with the use of natural mud and mineral baths give good results.

Exercises for treating osteoarthritis

A prerequisite in the treatment of arthrosis is the use of various types of exercises in order to prevent muscle atrophy and weaken the ligaments.

Exercises for the treatment of arthrosis are selected individually for each patient by the attending physician and a physiotherapy specialist. The exercises are started only after the removal of the exacerbation, but no later than 5-6 days after the removal of the pain syndrome.

The task of exercises for the treatment of arthrosis is the restoration of joint mobility, aerobic training, increasing the strength and flexibility of muscles and joints.

How to treat osteoarthritis folk remedies?

In case of arthrosis, medical treatment can not be avoided, but usually the doctor prescribes a comprehensive treatment, advising to use folk remedies. But you need to know that the treatment of osteoarthritis, including alternative medicine, is based on a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition, to all this folk recipes are added.

  1. Birch leaves, nettle leaves and calendula inflorescence is taken in equal parts. In the end, you need to get two tablespoons. We arrange the resulting crushed collection in a thermos, pour liter of boiling water and leave overnight. Starting from the next morning, you need to take half a cup of broth four to five times a day. The course of taking this recipe is two to three months.
  2. Egg solution is prepared from fresh egg yolk, which is mixed with turpentine and apple cider vinegar in a 1: 1: 1 ratio. The fluid must be thoroughly mixed and rub the affected joint with it overnight. Then you need to wrap all a woolen scarf. It is recommended to perform rubbing for 1 month 2-3 times a week.
  3. Celery. 1-2 tsp of fresh celery juice drink up to 3 times a day. You can use a decoction. Brew 1 tbsp. spoon of fresh roots 2 cups of boiling water and let stand under the lid for 4 hours. Drink 2 tbsp. spoons up to 4 times a day 30 minutes before meals.
  4. You will need a piece of soft fabric made of wool, without synthetic impurities and a cabbage head. First you need to grind the head, then well mash it with a mortar or with your hands, it is desirable to use non-oxidized dishes. After that, you can squeeze the juice in a juicer. Now we take the prepared fabric and we wet it in cabbage juice; we put this compress on the sore joint. I would also like to note that the squeezed juice can be stored no more than three days from the moment of spinning.
  5. The use of boiled oatmeal also gives good results. Take three or four tablespoons of oatmeal, cover with boiling water and cook on low heat for five to seven minutes. The amount of water used should provide a thick porridge, which should be cooled and used as a compress for the night. Use only freshly boiled flakes. Yesterday's porridge for a compress is not suitable.
  6. The pharmacy acquires root devyasila. As a rule, it is packaged in packs of 50g. To prepare the tincture you need half a pack of the roots of the plant and 150 ml of high-quality vodka. The ingredients are mixed, placed in a dark bottle and infused for 12 days. Rubbing is done at bedtime and, if possible, in the morning.

As a whole, the treatment of arthrosis with folk remedies is not able to completely replace the standard types of therapy (medications, physiotherapy, massage, exercise therapy), but it can significantly alleviate the symptoms of the disease, increase the effect of other therapies and speed recovery.

Watch the video: Osteoarthritis: Mayo Clinic Radio (January 2020).


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