Joints are the mobile joints of two bones - and a true marvel of nature. They allow the smooth movement of the body and all limbs in almost all directions. The sophisticated construction also makes the joints shock absorbers that absorb large loads on the bones. The joints hold out a lot: A knee joint, for example, can cope with up to 500 kg, the hip joint almost twice.
Structure of the joints
The two parts of the bone which form the joint are adapted to one another in such a way that one part usually corresponds to a pan and the other corresponds to the head fitting therewith. If the socket part is poorly formed, such as on the knee, then crescent-shaped cartilage discs stabilize the fit of the bones - the so-called menisci.
In order to make the contact in the joint soft and with as little friction as possible, the touching parts of the bone, also referred to as joint bodies, are covered with a thin layer of cartilage. This cartilage serves as a sliding surface as well as to cushion shocks.
The diet of cartilage via the synovial fluid, since he has no blood vessel supply itself. This fluid filling the joint space between the ends of the bone is gel-like and has a lubricating and shock-absorbing effect.
Removal of cartilage
With age, the elasticity of cartilage and synovial fluid diminishes. At the same time, the water content in the cartilage decreases, so that the joints increasingly lose their cushioning effect. The once smooth surface of the cartilage becomes rough, rubbing it on the other side of the joint. In the extreme case, the entire cartilage layer can dissolve to the bone ends, so that the bone ends rub directly on each other.
These joint diseases, which arise as a result of changes in the articular cartilage, are referred to as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the medical term for a group of rheumatic diseases that is described as "degenerative rheumatic diseases". An arthrosis manifests itself first in a morning rigidity of the joint.
The discomfort and pain persist until enough synovial fluid has entered the joint through the movement. Medically, this is called start-up pain or starting pain. Particularly affected are the weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips. An arthrotic disease of the joint is always caused by over- or Fehlbelastungen - the natural aging process of the cartilage is not responsible.
The following causes are mostly based on over- and underload:
- Badly healing fractures
- Occupational overload, eg of a leg
- From birth on maladjusted joint positions, eg the hip
- Disorders in bone structure
Fit joints with glucosamine
A key component of cartilage tissue is glucosamine, an amino sugar that can be produced by the healthy and youthful organism from various components of the diet. However, with age, the body loses its ability to absorb glucosamine from food. In addition, today's foods contain little natural glucosamine sources, which include shells, crabs, shrimp and lobster. Also cartilage and connective tissue parts of other animals are today only very rarely on the menu.
Glucosamine also serves to form synovial fluid, the so-called synovial fluid. As a result of a glucosamine deficiency, the inherently viscous synovial fluid becomes thin and watery. The cartilages of the joint capsules shrink and become brittle. This ultimately leads to erosion of the cartilage layers in the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, stiffness and pain.
Joint pain: what to do?
- Joint-friendly sports (walking, swimming, cycling)
- Avoiding fatty foods
- No smoking, low alcohol
- Pay attention to the weight
- Avoid heavy loads.