Arthritis is a disease that involves inflammation in the joints, causing pain and stiffness and decreases the ability of movement. In this disease, the most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis.
Causes of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is due to wear and tear of cartilage (elastic tissue that covers the bones in joints). When it is worn, the bones rub together, generating stiffness and pain. As the disease progresses, bone spurs (new bone formation) around the joint, so that the muscles ligaments weaken the affected area may appear.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
The main risk factors that can lead to the emergence and evolution of this locomotive pathology are:
- Overweight (especially osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, ankle and foot)
- Genetic heritage
- Sports that involve a direct impact on the joints
- Fractures and joint injuries
- bleeding disorders that cause bleeding or block blood flow to the joints
- Other forms of arthritis (gout or rheumatoid arthritis)
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
The first symptoms appear in middle age, but most suffer any symptoms from 70 years. The characteristic symptom is pain and stiffness in the joint, which is enhanced when pressure is applied or after sports. This symptom can also be perceived in the morning ( "morning stiffness") and usually improves after mild activity. So, rest often reduce pain and activity tends to intensify.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease, which has no cure and also tend to worsen over time. Thus, the treatment of this condition focuses on controlling symptoms.
In addition to treat episodes of pain with painkillers and prevent worsening with gentle mobilization of joints and control stability and articular load by orthopedic products (such as knee or lumbar support belts), the specialist in traumatology can offer several alternatives for treatment as appropriate:
- Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique with which you can visualize the inside of the joints to make a diagnosis and treatment without the need for open surgery, reducing the risk of complications and allowing faster recovery. Through small incisions, video cameras, forceps, scalpels and latest technology devices to repair or replace the damaged parts are introduced.
- Regenerative medicine: it refers to the set of processes designed to repair or replace tissue or organ function by stimulating its own self - healing. This discipline encompasses both therapeutic strategies based on the use of living cells and cell therapy as those based on tissue engineering scaffolds using different materials and biocompatible matrices alone or in combination provide support and facilitate the repair of tissue damage. Currently, attention has focused on the progenitor cells with improved biological properties and superior plasticity already differentiated, and the use of growth factors that are obtained from platelets patient's own blood.
- Prosthesis: When a joint is badly damaged by attrition (arthrosis), by a fracture or a disease that destroys irreversibly a total or partial joint replacement or "prosthetic arthroplasty , " can be done by removing the damaged structures and replacing the joint by artificial implants. With the latest technological advances, it has managed to replace almost all the major joints of the body in a safe and durable way, allowing a return to the very satisfactory previous activity.