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Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative joint disease is commonly known as arthritis that affects feet, fingers, hands, spine, and weight-bearing joints. It is caused due to the inflammation of joints because the articular cartilage covering the bones may be damaged or worn out.

The factors that causes degenerative joint disease are family history, injury to the joint, fractures, over use of the joint, conditions such as obesity, hyperthyroidism. Some of the common arthritic conditions include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis: It is caused due to trauma, over use of the joints, or damaged cartilage. Pain is commonly seen in the weight-bearing joints such as hip, knee, and spine. In many cases due to osteoarthritis, bone growths or spurs are formed at the end of the joints due to which the bone becomes hard causing the inflammation in the joint, pain, and, swelling.

Rheumatoid arthritis: It is considered to be a chronic arthritic condition that affects the joints. It occurs mostly among elderly women than men. In this condition, the body’s immune system that normally protects the body begins to produce substances that will destroy the joint surfaces. The lining of joint swells and invades the surrounding tissues. Pain, swelling, and stiffness generally observed.

Conservative treatments provide short term pain relief for degenerative joint disease include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen) and cortisone injections. Rehabilitation is considered to provide effective results. It includes physical exercises, use of crutches, braces, or splints that will help to decrease stiffness of joints, strengthen the weakened muscles, relieve pain, stress, and strain in and around the joint muscles. These exercises should be carried out regularly without fail.

Although, conservative treatment provides short-term pain relief, but cannot be continued for a long time. Hence surgery is thought to be the last option. Surgery is done to remove the damaged cartilage, realignment the joint, , fuse the bone ends, and/or joint replacement. Some of the common surgical procedures are total joint replacement, unicompartmental joint replacement, resurfacing, and arthroscopy of the joints.