Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, which is joint inflammation. It affects millions of people all over the world. It is popularly known as joint calcification. It is a condition characterized by wear and loss of cartilage tissue in the joints over time.
Other causes of arthritis include rheumatic diseases and infections.
Osteoarthritis or joint calcification can affect almost any joint in the body, but the knee , hand, hip and spine joints are most commonly affected. There are treatments for joint calcification complaints and it is possible to be protected with various measures. However, there is no treatment that reverses the damage that has occurred yet.
Joint calcification symptoms develop gradually over the years.
- Pain: Affected joints may ache during or after movement.
- Irritability: There may be short-term stiffness that lasts for a few minutes in the morning. Stiffness can also be seen after rest.
- Tenderness: Pain may occur when the joint is touched or lightly exerted.
- Restriction of motion : The normal range of motion of the involved joints may be restricted.
- Grinding sensation: Grinding or rubbing sensation may be felt during movement, and sounds such as cracking and cracking may be heard.
- Bone spurs: Swelling may occur as a result of abnormal growth of the bone at the edges of the joint.
- Edema: Soft tissue edema may occur as a result of joint inflammation.
Osteoarthritis involving joints such as knees and hips can cause difficulty in walking. Hand osteoarthritis can cause lumps and deformities in the fingers, making it difficult to use the hands. Calcification in the spine can cause back-neck pain and stiffness.
Why Does It Happen?
The main feature of osteoarthritis is the damage to the cartilage tissue that surrounds the bones facing the joint in the joints. Cartilage normally allows joint movement to be almost frictionless, absorbing shock. Factors such as genetic predisposition, trauma, and micro-wear that have accumulated over the years are effective in the formation of cartilage damage.
Joint calcification also affects other parts of the joint apart from the cartilage layer. There are also results such as hardening of the bone under the cartilage tissue, formation of cysts, spiky growth at the edges of the joints (osteophyte formation), inflammation in the synovial membrane, edema, and weakening of the muscles.
- Age: The incidence of osteoarthritis increases with age.
- Gender: It is more common in women than men.
- Obesity: Being overweight puts more strain on the load-bearing joints, increasing the risk of cartilage damage. In addition, adipose tissue produces proteins and hormones that increase joint inflammation.
- Joint injuries: Traumas such as sports injuries, traffic accidents, and falls increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that appear to have healed years ago can predispose to arthritis.
- Overuse: Overuse of the joint due to sports or occupation can lead to the development of osteoarthritis over time.
- Genetics: Some people are more genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis.
- Bone deformity: People with congenital or developmental bone deformities may experience joint calcification.
- Some metabolic diseases: Diabetes, hemochromatosis, which causes excess iron accumulation in the body, may predispose to osteoarthritis.
The diagnosis is made on the basis of complaints and physical examination. X-rays show joint calcification and may also be taken to rule out other potential problems. MRI (MRI) is generally not required for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. On the other hand, it can be used to evaluate possible additional problems such as meniscus damage in complex joints such as the knee. Blood tests can be done to rule out rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis . If there is a significant increase in intra-articular fluid, it may be necessary to take a sample with a needle. With joint fluid analysis, diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and septic arthritis can be differentiated.
In cases where the pain is severe, the use of acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for short periods may be recommended by the doctor. Duloxetine molecule, which is a drug from the antidepressant group, can be effective in the treatment of chronic pain, including osteoarthritis.
Physical therapy has an important place in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles around the joint are effective in reducing complaints such as pain and stiffness, and can also slow down the wear process. Exercises such as walking and swimming are also effective. Occupational and occupational therapy provides training to perform activities of daily life without straining the joints. For example, a person with knee arthritis uses a toilet booster, and a thick-handled toothbrush is recommended to a person with arthritis in the hand joints.
TENS , ultrasound therapy, laser therapy, hot or cold applications, biofeedback , short wave diathermy , paraffin are some of the physical therapy methods applied in joint calcification.
Various injection treatments are used to relieve joint inflammation, to replenish deteriorated joint fluid, or to help the joint repair itself. Cortisone injections can be used to suppress inflammation. Hyaluronic acid injections replenish joint fluid. PRP and stem cell injections are applied for tissue regeneration called regenerative medicine.
If the desired results cannot be obtained with the above methods, various surgical methods are available. Arthroplasty surgery, which replaces the joint with metal and plastic prosthetic parts, is one of the most frequently applied techniques. Arthroplasty can be performed for knee, hip, shoulder and finger joints. In general, physical therapy is also performed during the recovery period after arthroplasty .