Arthrosis is a degenerative disease affecting the joints following damage to or deterioration of the cartilage.
The main problem is a lack of hyaluronic acid and the fact that it cannot be produced in enough quantities.
The hyaluronic acid acts as a lubricant between the joint structures, is anti-inflammatory and distributes nutrients to the cartilage. Healthy cartilage is elastic and thick.
Hyaluronic acid decreases with age; the cartilage is gets thinner and dehydrated and cannot function normally. This leads to transformation in the joint surfaces, meaning that friction increases, which leads to pain and inflammation.
Deteriorating of the cartilage worsens the imbalance in the distribution of pressure in the joint. Parts of the underlying bone subject to higher stress become damaged and worn out more easily, leading to redistribution of microcirculation in the bone.
This leads to the formation of bone spurs (lumps) – exostosis pointing to the joint space in an attempt to make up the difference by increasing the surface between the bones and cartilage, and reducing pressure on the bones. Unfortunately this also restricts movement in the joint and causes strong pain if the nerve is compressed.
Necrotising cartilage tissue is absorbed by leucocytes which release large amounts of inflammatory factors. This leads to synovitis – inflammation of the joint capsule, which has to be healed along with the arthrosis. The immuno-pathological process develops along with degeneration. The inflammation leads to overgrowth of the connective tissue in the joint – fibrosis and thickening of the joint capsule.
A distinction needs to be made between arthritis and arthrosis. Arthritis may affect some internal organs (rheumatoid arthritis) and typical symptoms are pain, inflammation and redness around the joint. Arthrosis affects the cartilage. The common factor between the two is pain and stiffness, but in arthrosis there is no inflammation or reddening. They may be seen in more severe forms, when the cartilage is thoroughly damaged and the joint surfaces rub against one another.
Even though your GP may indicate the exact cause of your condition and its symptoms, various tests need to be carried out such as a radiography, an MRI scan or an ultrasound scan before exact diagnosis can be made.
Treating arthrosis – along with medical treatment, physiotherapy combined with kinesitherapy helps to overcome the pain and stiffness and get you back to doing things you enjoy.
Physiotherapy combined with kinesitherapy helps to overcome the pain and stiffness and get you back to doing what you enjoy.