Degenerative Joint Disease

What is Degenerative Joint Disease?

Degenerative joint disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is a chronic and progressive condition that affects the joints. It causes damage to the joint cartilage and bone, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. It is one of the most common forms of arthritis and affects about 20 million Americans, primarily adults over age 65. It can affect any joint, but is most common in the hands, hips, knees, and spine.

Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disease

The most common symptom of degenerative joint disease is joint pain. Other symptoms of the condition may include:

  • Stiffness and swelling in the affected joint
  • Reduced range of motion in the joint
  • Grinding or crunching sensations in the joint when moved
  • Difficulty performing everyday activities, such as standing up from a sitting position
  • Crepitus, or a cracking or popping sensation when the joint is moved

Risk Factors for Degenerative Joint Disease

While age is the most significant risk factor for degenerative joint disease, there are some other factors that can increase your risk. These include:

  • Trauma or injury to the joint
  • Obesity or extra weight, which puts additional stress on your joints
  • Repeated stress on the joint from a job or sport
  • Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout
  • Heredity

Treatments for Degenerative Joint Disease

The goal of treatment for degenerative joint disease is to reduce pain and stiffness and improve mobility. Treatment may include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy to maintain muscle strength and range of motion
  • Medications to reduce joint inflammation and pain
  • Weight loss, if needed, to reduce stress on the joint
  • Joint injections with corticosteroids
  • Surgical procedures, such as joint replacement surgery

Living with degenerative joint disease can be challenging, but with the right treatment and lifestyle modifications, it is possible to manage the symptoms and maintain mobility.