What Is Degenerative Joint Disease?

March 9th, 2018 by LOC Team

Degenerative joint disease is considered the most common chronic joint condition. Wherever two bones meet in a body, there is a joint. The ends of the bones of these joints are covered in a protective layer of cartilage. This cartilage allows for a smooth action when moving the joint. However, degenerative joint disease breaks down this cartilage. The causes the bones of the joint to rub together which will cause stiffness and pain, among other symptoms.

Degenerative joint disease most often occurs in older people, but can affect any adult of any age. Degenerative joint disease is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, degenerative arthritis and, of course, osteoarthritis. It is one of the biggest causes of disability in the world and here is everything you need to know about degenerative joint disease if you have it.

The causes of degenerative joint disease

The damage caused by degenerative joint disease accumulates over time. So, age has a huge factor to play in degenerative joint disease. Essentially, the older you are, the more wear and tear your joints have. Although the causes of osteoarthritis are not fully understood as of yet, we do know that some things can speed up the wear and tear within joints. These risk factors include:

  • Dislocated joints
  • Ligament injuries
  • Torn cartilage
  • Poor posture
  • Obesity
  • Joint deformity

Basically, anything that causes your joint to wear in a different way than normal, no matter how slight, may result in degenerative joint disease. However, there are other risk factors too. A family history of degenerative joint disease and your gender can play a role in whether you get the condition or not.

The symptoms of degenerative joint disease

Degenerative joint disease can transpire in any joint in the body. The most commonly affected areas, however, are:

  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Hands and fingers
  • Spine, most commonly in the lower back or neck

Although the symptoms can be slightly different depending on where the degenerative joint disease is, the most common symptoms of it include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Inflammation
  • Tenderness

As degenerative joint disease becomes more advanced, the symptoms will become more intense. Over time, the pain and stiffness in the joint may intensify and spread. Recognising the early symptoms of degenerative joint disease can help you find treatment early and therefore manage the pain and other symptoms better.

Degenerative joint disease treatments

There is no cure for degenerative joint disease, so the treatments centre around symptom management. The treatment that will help you the most depends on the severity of your degenerative joint disease and the location of it. However, some common treatments for degenerative joint disease include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Pain medication
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Adequate sleep

Effectively, the treatments for degenerative joint disease will help to take pressure off of the joint. This can be done with weight loss and exercise. The weight loss means that there is less weight pressing down on the joint and exercising increases the muscles surrounding the joint so they can work harder.

We hope this look at degenerative joint disease has been helpful. To find out more about common conditions related to age, please explore our website further. For more information on degenerative joint disease and for our help treating yours, please get in touch.