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The degenerative arthritis basics everyone should know

Degenerative Arthritis
3 minutes, 33 seconds

Degenerative arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is a condition involving joint inflammation. This condition is associated with joint deterioration over time. It is one of the most common types of arthritis and can be majorly disruptive to someone’s life. 

If you’re dealing with degenerative arthritis, here’s what you need to know. We’ll go over the symptoms, causes, risk factors and common treatments. Fortunately, treatment is available to help you manage the symptoms of your condition.

What are the symptoms of degenerative arthritis?

Degenerative arthritis symptoms present similarly to many other kinds of arthritis. However, this specific type of arthritis is unique in that it causes not only the joints to deteriorate over time, but the bones too. Specific symptoms include:

  • Pain in the joints — One of the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis is pain in and around the affected joints. This type of pain can become more intense and occur more frequently as the affected person ages.
  • Swelling around the joints — Another common symptom is swelling around the joints. Swelling may make the joints difficult to move and can make them appear visibly larger under the skin.
  • Stiffness in the joints — Stiffness around the joints is frequently experienced by patients with arthritis. It can make moving around difficult.
  • Sensitivity around the joints — Another common symptom is sensitivity around the joints. The skin may become sensitive to the touch.
  • Limited range of motion when using the affected joints — Pain, stiffness and swelling can make it harder to move the affected joints. A limited range of motion is a common symptom for people who have arthritis.
  • Grinding or grating noises in the joints — Some people with joint inflammation report experiencing grinding or grating noises originating from their joints.
  • New or growing bone spurs — It’s not unusual for people with degenerative joint disease to experience bone spurs.
  • Trouble sleeping — Some patients with joint inflammation report experiencing difficulty sleeping through the night because of their pain.

What causes degenerative arthritis?

Degenerative arthritis is when the cartilage in a joint of the body starts to break down over time. Once the cartilage breaks down, the bones at the joint will rub and grind against each other. It leads to changes in bone structure, cartilage, and even the muscle around the joints. On top of all this, osteoarthritis also causes inflammation to occur around the joints.

What are the risk factors associated with degenerative arthritis?

  • Old age — Older adults are more likely to develop degenerative arthritis, although it may occur in younger people too.
  • Excess weight — Carrying too much extra body weight can place strain on the joints and eventually lead to osteoarthritis.
  • Injury or trauma to the joint — If you’ve suffered a traumatic injury to a joint in your body, it can also become susceptible to osteoarthritis.
  • Repetitive stress — Repetitive stress, like lifting heavy objects each day for extended periods of time, can cause this condition to occur.
  • Family history — If you have a family member who has osteoarthritis, it may increase your odds of developing osteoarthritis too.
  • Birth defects — Birth defects like problems with bone or cartilage can lead to degenerative arthritis for some people.
  • Disease — Diseases, like diabetes, also increase a person’s risk of developing degenerative arthritis .

How can physical therapy help degenerative arthritis patients?

  • Improve joint mobility — One of the benefits of physical therapy for patients with degenerative arthritis is improved joint mobility. Physical therapy can often help patients restore movement to their joints and make movement easier to perform.
  • Decrease pain levels — Physical therapy can also help patients manage their pain levels. It can help reduce inflammation and teach them the skills they need to manage their pain so that it’s less disruptive to their everyday lives.
  • Protect the joints — Physical therapists can also help build strength around the joints so that when the cartilage wears down, the joints can be more supported.

Alliance PTP can help you find the right PT clinic to treat your degenerative arthritis

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your degenerative joint disease. Your arthritis doesn’t have to get the best of you. Physical therapy can help reduce the impact of your symptoms on your daily life.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your injury or chronic condition today!


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