Joint Degeneration: What Is It, Who Has It, and What Can You Do About It?

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LA Osteoarthritis Pain Treatment SurgeonJoints are responsible for both movement and flexibility in the human body. Within the joints themselves, there are areas of cartilage that function as support for nearby bones, providing cushion and preventing the bones from grinding against each other. Joints bear a large percentage of one’s body weight when going about daily activities like walking. As a result, our joints are at risk of injury and/or gradual wear and tear, also known as joint degeneration. Fortunately, a Los Angeles orthopedic oncologist can provide the treatment necessary to repair and protect joints suffering from deterioration.

What is Joint Degeneration?

Joint degeneration refers to painful and debilitating joint conditions that generally affect older patients, but can occur in younger people too. There are four types of common degenerative joint conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis
  • Avascular Necrosis

What are the Symptoms of Degenerating Joints?

Unfortunately, joint degeneration typically isn’t diagnosed until there are painful symptoms. The condition can take years to develop and may not show any symptoms until the damage has become significant. The symptoms include:

  • Acute pain around an affected joint
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning or after a period of inactivity
  • Redness and/or tenderness
  • Limited mobility during daily activities (for example, eating with utensils, getting in and out of chairs or even dressing)
  • Grating sensation when attempting to move through its range of motion

Additional symptoms can include back pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue, especially if the wear and tear become significant. It’s important to seek an evaluation with a professional as soon as the symptoms are noticed in order to receive proper treatment and maintain a healthy and active quality of life.

Orthopedic oncologist Dr. Daniel C. Allison is an expert in cartilage degeneration, including inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and avascular necrosis. If you think you’re suffering from wear and tear to your joints, schedule a consultation with Dr. Allison in Los Angeles today.

The 4 Types of Joint Degeneration

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease and is the most common type of joint degeneration condition. Older populations are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis, with one-third of Americans over the age of 65 suffering from OA in common areas such as the ankles, feet, hips, and knees, as well as other parts of the body.

The reason osteoarthritis occurs more often in older populations is that the primary cause of cartilage degeneration is the wear and tear on the joints throughout a person’s lifetime. However, there can be other factors that can predispose someone to developing OA. These factors include:

  • Frequently lifting heavy objects or making strenuous movements, as with manual labor jobs
  • Congenital joint malformation
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Gender (women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men)
  • Joint injury or trauma (for example, from high impact sports)
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise

If left untreated, osteoarthritis can lead to other joint-related conditions including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and fractures. At the earliest sign, it is highly encouraged that patients seek osteoarthritis treatment as soon as possible to prevent the damage from worsening.

Inflammatory Arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis refers to a collection of autoimmune disorders that cause inflammation of the joints and other tissues in the body. These diseases include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Lupus
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own joint tissue. This results in swelling, pain, and eventually joint degeneration. While it is commonly believed that inflammatory arthritis is primarily caused by genetic predisposition, certain risk factors, such as smoking cigarettes, stress, and hormones, can contribute to the disease. Contact Dr. Allison for expert arthritis treatment as soon as possible.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is actually a form of osteoarthritis that develops as a result of a particular injury or physical trauma to a specific joint.

In addition to pain, stiffness, and swelling, which is common to joint degeneration, inflammatory arthritis can also cause joint instability, bone spurs or deformity. It can also develop in young children as well as adults because it occurs after a physical injury or event.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis, also known as osteonecrosis, is also caused by a specific event, specifically the loss of bone tissue due to poor blood supply to the area.

Avascular necrosis may be caused by various conditions including:

  • Injury or joint dislocation
  • Fatty deposits in the blood vessels
  • Medical conditions, such as Gaucher’s disease and sickle cell anemia

Diagnosis is crucial for determining the type of joint deterioration you might have. After diagnosis, Dr. Allison will create an osteonecrosis treatment plan depending on the type and severity of the joint damage, as well as the patient’s age, health, and needs.

Learn more about avascular necrosis at WebMD.com.

The Four Goals of Joint Degeneration Treatment

  • To control pain
  • To improve joint function
  • To maintain normal body weight
  • To achieve a healthy lifestyle

Contact an Orthopedic Oncologist in Los Angeles Today

If you are experiencing joint degeneration symptoms or require a second opinion, contact Dr. Daniel C. Allison in Los Angeles today at (310) 730-8008 to schedule a consultation. An early diagnosis can lead to a return to pain-free function and improved quality of life.

Next, read What are the Symptoms of Soft Tissue Tumors

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