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Degenerative Joint Disease

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Hardeek N Ghundiyal 91% (160 ratings)
Fellowship in Knee Replacement, D.N.B. (Orthopaedics) , MBBS
Orthopedic Doctor, Mumbai  •  16 years experience
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I am Dr. Hardeek N Ghundiyal practicing Orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai. So, today I would like to speak about osteoarthritis of the knee joint. There are various type of Arthritis of the knee joint - broadly they are divided into primary and secondary. Osteoarthritis comes in the primary category while the secondary category is post-traumatic or post-infectious Arthritis. However, today I will talk only about the osteoarthritis of the knee.

Osteoarthritis is a progressive form of Arthritis and is characterized by breakdown of the cartilage of the knee joint. It is also called as wear and Tear Arthritis. It is usually found in the people more than 60 years of age however young people can also have it. The common joints affected for Arthritis is the knee joint .

Spine is also affected in Indians. In some Western countries, hip joint is also affected. The common symptom of arthritis is the pain which is gradually increasing over a period of time and which becomes a disability for the patient. The other symptoms being stiffness - stiffness is usually present in the morning times and as the patient walks, stiffness comes down. The other symptoms of the deformity of the legs are in which the bones become crooked. The last thing is the bone grating sensation as the patient makes the movement of the knee joints.

The bones rub against each other which causes the patient to give a grating sensation when the patient moves his knees. The most common factor for the osteoarthritis is the age. As one grows old, osteoarthritis is pretty much evident in the knees. The factors being the gender, females are more affected in osteoarthritis than the males, maybe because of postmenopausal arthritis mostly osteoporosis leads to the Apparatus. 

Weight is the third important factor which causes osteoarthritis. While the weight is less,  the stress and strain is reduced at the joint which causes delayed osteoarthritis. Osteoporosis is also one of the important factors causing osteoarthritis. If the calcium levels of the bones are less,  the bone grating and osteoarthritis increases. There is no specific treatment for osteoarthritis.

However joint functions can be improved with daily exercises in the form of swimming. Swimming is the best exercise for the patient with osteoarthritis. Second exercise is walking. Routine walk of at least 30 minutes per day is sufficient enough. The other exercises are bicycling and yoga can also be done. Loss of weight is the most important modifying factor for the osteoarthritis.

Various splints are available for osteoarthritis which help in preventing the deformity of the leg. Medications are available in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids or disease-modifying agents. With all these medications and exercises with the weight loss, if the deformity and the pain persists, the last option to go for is total knee replacement. Knee replacement is actually resurfacing of the bones of the knees in which a part of a leg bone and part of a thigh bone is cut and it is replaced by metallic objects with a plastic part in between the metallic objects , so that the bone grating is avoided. The metal parts blide against the plastic and hence the pain of the knee joint is almost negligible and the movements are preserved.


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