Hardly anyone is protected from joint wear and tear: Almost every person over the age of 65 has signs of osteoarthritis - a total of 143 joints can catch it. But even younger people can be affected, especially if they stress their joints, such as competitive athletes. By far the most common form of arthrosis is knee arthrosis.
Stiff knee in the morning
It almost always starts with pain in the morning after getting up, the knee is stiff. Later, the pain increases, often the symptoms increase when descending the stairs, they become stronger over time, the knee swells up - at the latest now one looks up the doctor. Almost one in four adults in Germany has osteoarthritis, and around five million people suffer from knee arthrosis, also known as gonarthrosis. Arthrosis is counted among rheumatic diseases.
The knee joint does a great job
The knee joint is the largest and most important joint of the human body. It can be bent and stretched like a hinge. With a bent knee, you can also turn the lower leg outwards and inwards. It does a great job, because at every step it carries the entire body weight.
The knee joint consists of the thighbone, the kneecap and the tibia. The fibula is laterally connected to the tibia but not to the knee joint. Thighs and tibia do not match with their articular surfaces.
To compensate for this, it has cartilage discs in the joint, the inner and outer meniscus. In addition, the menisci of a uniform pressure load, the power transmission and stability. Then another joint capsule encloses the joint. The capsule is internally lined with a mucous membrane (synovialis), which produces the synovial fluid. This synovial fluid is used to nourish the structures in the joint.
What happens with an arthrosis?
Osteoarthritis can occur on any joint, but osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of osteoarthritis (gonarthrosis). Osteoarthritis means cartilage wear: a joint wears when the cartilage that covers the joint ends becomes rough due to friction and rubs off. This causes pain, occasionally inflammation.
Causes of osteoarthritis
Frequent causes are overloads, for example due to obesity, but hereditary factors also play a role. But younger people also find it, especially if they stress their joints heavily through one-sided or one-sided sports. It is normal for the cartilage to wear off over the years, reducing joint fluid, resulting in loss of elasticity and lower resilience. At first, the cartilage is affected, as the disease progresses, the bony structures also wear out.
Treatment for osteoarthritis
Throughout life, all structures of the body undergo this natural aging process. However, if excessive signs of wear occur, or if premature wear occurs, this is considered to be a pathological change, which usually requires treatment. A distinction is made between the primary (caused by natural wear and aging processes) and the secondary arthrosis caused by faulty loading. These include excessive knee loads such as competitive sports, bad workloads such as overweight, improperly healed fractures and injuries, metabolic diseases (diabetes) and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatism.
Radiographs of the joint show the extent of the signs of wear. But the cartilage itself can not be visualized with an X-ray. Very often, narrowing of the joint space indirectly indicates thinner cartilage. The doctor can only see the wear of the affected, soft joint components by means of ultrasound.
The joint mirror is an operative procedure, which is usually treated immediately. In technical terms, this reflection is called arthroscopy, an examination of joints with a special endoscope - a small camera, the arthroscope. The most important alternative for arthroscopy is magnetic resonance tomography (MRI). A big advantage of this research method is that it is a very gentle process.
Arthritis is a joint inflammation
Arthrosis is not to be confused with arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints, and in very rare cases internal organs, the skin or the eyes may be affected. About 0.5 percent of the population is affected - women three times more likely than men. Hand and finger joints ignite especially frequently. Here, pain is one of the main features of the disease, which usually occur at night or in the morning.
Also typical is a morning stiffness of the joints that lasts longer than 15 minutes. Therapy should be as early as possible to stop the course of arthritis and prevent further damage. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used in conjunction with physiotherapy.