Degenerative joint disease is another name for osteoarthritis, a wear-and-tear condition in which cartilage at the ends of bones wears away, causing bone-on-bone friction and joint pain. It is very common. An estimated 27 million Americans have this form of arthritis.
Although osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, it’s most likely to affect your hips, knees, back, or hands.
Degenerative joint disease develops slowly over the years. It is a degenerative condition, meaning it will continue to worsen with time. There is no cure. If you have osteoarthritis, there are things you can do to manage your symptoms and stop progression of the disease.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of degenerative joint disease include pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, the development of bone spurs and loss of range of movement at the affected joint. Symptoms tend to appear gradually and become more pronounced with time. You may not notice you have the condition until the damage has already occurred.
With time, chronic pain and joint stiffness may limit your ability to move, perform daily tasks, and otherwise live the life you’re used to. Many patients with degenerative joint disease report feeling depressed and having trouble sleeping as a result of the chronic pain and other symptoms.
Age is the biggest risk factor. The older you get, the higher your risk of osteoarthritis. Women are also more prone to developing degenerative joint disease compared to men.
Being overweight also contributes to development of the disease. This is because added weight puts greater pressure on your weight-bearing joints. Fat also produces inflammation-causing proteins that affect your joints.
Previous injuries to your joints make you more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the future. The trauma could’ve come from car accidents, falls, contact sports or activities where a direct blow to the joints is common.
Your family medical history matters, too. If anyone in your family suffers from degenerative joint disease, then you may have inherited a tendency to develop the disease.
Treating Degenerative Joint Disease
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to slow progression of osteoarthritis such as stretching and exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
In addition, there are medical interventions that can help you manage the condition. For example, your doctor may recommend certain medications such as anti-inflammatories and painkillers. In some cases, surgical approaches may be needed like joint replacement surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeon in St. Peters and O’Fallon, MO
If you suffer from degenerative joint disease or have any orthopedic concerns, call Advanced Bone & Joint in St. Peters and O’Fallon, Missouri, at (636) 224-4192 or request an appointment now.
Our orthopedic doctors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of symptoms related to osteoarthritis and other diseases or disorders that affect your musculoskeletal system. After a careful assessment of your condition, we will work with you to develop a unique treatment plan that can best help you.