Degenerative joint disease involves irreversible changes to the cartilage, bone, ligaments and tendons of the joint, which cause significant dysfunction of a joint and an entire extremity. Joint degeneration is a result of an imbalance between degradation and formation of articular (joint) cartilage caused by mechanical joint damage or disease processes which affect articular structure nourishment.
Primary degenerative joint disease has an unknown aetiology, while secondary degenerative joint disease is triggered by an injury, abnormal joint structure, or a systemic disease. The diagnosis is confirmed with an x-ray. In some cases, MRI may also be necessary.
Signs and symptoms may include e.g. limited mobility, pain when moving the joint and at rest, often more severe at night, muscle contractures, deformity of the joint and limb axis deviation.
Therapy – involving regenerative treatments and function rehabilitation – can be effective in early stages of the disease.
In advanced cases, joint alloplasty (surgical joint replacement) is the most effective option. In patients, who cannot have surgery under general anaesthesia due to concomitant diseases, regenerative treatments can be used, which usually significantly improve quality of life.
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