What is the course of osteoarthritis?
In the initial phase, the elasticity of the articular cartilage decreases. The cartilage tissue softens and tears. Cartilage cells die. The bone under the articular cartilage thickens. At the edges of the articular surface are formed bead-like bone attachments, which prevent the movement more and more. This process progresses, the functioning joint surface is getting smaller. Finally, there is inflammation of the joint mucosa with pain, which can be very strong, especially in the weight-bearing joints.
Can arthritis be inherited?
Osteoarthritis is not a hereditary disease, but the system of osteoarthritis may be inherited in some cases. Genetic factors play a role in the quality and resilience of articular cartilage. But leg bone malformations and joint deformities that can trigger osteoarthritis are hereditary. Other risk factors for the development of arthritis such as metabolic disorders or rheumatic diseases can be inherited.
Movement in osteoarthritis - why and what is good?
The movement is important because it produces the synovial fluid in the joint and transports it into the articular cartilage. This nourishing fluid (synovia) is formed by the synovial membrane. It serves to supply nutrients to the vascular articular cartilage and, in addition, reduces friction in the joint and acts as a fluid shock absorber, especially during rapid movements.
A well-functioning musculature is important for the normal movement in the joint. The better muscles and ligaments work, the more the joint is protected and relieved of over- and under-loading. In principle, all types of movement are recommended, which keep the joints in motion, but do not overload, for example cycling, swimming.
Tips for osteoarthritis - what can you do yourself?
All of the following measures are aimed primarily at the arthritis of large, weight-bearing joints:
- Regularly ensure movement
- reduce weight
- Stretching exercises for thigh muscles make
- Do not carry heavy things
- Avoid prolonged standing and sitting
- Go on soft (shock-absorbing) soles
- Wear flat heels (for knee osteoarthritis)
Further advice on which specific recommendations are sensible and necessary for the individual patient can only be given by the treating physician with knowledge of the affected joint, the severity of osteoarthritis and the patient's ability to perform.