First, let's define what osteoarthritis is. Osteoarthritis or arthrosis is a joint disease in which the cartilage tissue of the interarticular surfaces is damaged. At the same time, not only articular cartilages are involved in the pathological process, but also ligaments, synovial membrane, periarticular muscles.
Arthrosis can be of two forms: localized, in which one of the joints is affected (arthrosis of the foot, knee joint, etc. ) and generalized. The types of this disease depend on the affected joint and are:
- coxarthrosis (or hip);
- gonarthrosis (or knee);
- arthrosis of the distal interphalangeal joints (Heberd's nodes);
- damage to the proximal interphalangeal joints;
- polyosteoarthritis of the joints of the hands (Kelgen's disease);
- arthrosis of the shoulder;
- spondylarthrosis of the lumbosacral region;
- arthrosis of the ankle joint (arthrosis of the foot).
The main symptoms of the disease are:
- pain and deformity
- "dry" crackling in the wrist,
- reduced mobility (due to reduced joint space and muscle spasms around the inflamed joint).
The joint may swell, the color of the skin above it changes (redness appears). In some cases, the temperature rises.
There are four degrees of the disease (according to some sources only 3)
- In the first degree, the presence of problems in the joint can be determined by the presence of grinding, burning and accompanying pain. However, body temperature does not rise, swelling does not occur. It is recommended to start treatment from the initial stage of disease development.
- Changes are visible in the second stage of the disease. There is constant fatigue and a feeling of pressure on the affected area, which increases with physical exertion. Reduced joint mobility.
- The third degree is accompanied by symptoms of constant severe pain in the joints (even at rest). There is an increased sensitivity to weather conditions. Joints can fail completely, and the person becomes incapacitated.
- The fourth stage of the disease is the presence of constant severe pain, in which strong drugs are powerless.
Read more about the symptoms and treatment of different types of osteoarthritis.
Symptoms and treatment of arthrosis of the hip joint
Symptoms of the disease are characterized by pain or pulling in the groin, especially in the evening, after physical activity during the day. Unpleasant sensations pass quickly. However, if it is not treated in time, the pain becomes longer and more intense even with less effort. The patient begins to limp, trying to reduce the load on the inflamed organ. Movement becomes more and more restricted. As the disease progresses, the thigh muscles atrophy and the affected limb shortens.
Depending on the degree of the disease, treatment can be with or without surgical intervention (III-IV degree).
Of course, the earlier the disease is diagnosed and appropriate treatment is started, the less likely the disease will progress and the patient will maintain a high quality of life.
So, in the initial (I and II phase) various medicines, special gymnastics, manual therapy and mandatory diet in such cases will help. The diet is aimed at reducing the patient's body weight in order to reduce the load on the joints (if there is a problem of excess weight, of course). It is also important to eat vegetables and fruits to supply the body with vitamins and minerals. Saturation with proteins, which are the basis of every connective tissue, is a priority, so dairy products and legume products, jelly, low-fat jelly should be included in the diet.
The patient can be prescribed a course of acupuncture and physiotherapy, which, in addition to the already mentioned gymnastics, can include underwater massage, thermal therapy, hydro- and balneotherapy, electrotherapy. Orthopedic constructions can be used (use of a walking stick, wedge pillows, lifting seats, orthoses).
Medicines prescribed to the patient in the treatment of this disease (grades I-II):
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. These drugs are designed to relieve groin and hip pain, not to treat joints directly;
- chondroprotectors. Medicines contribute to the restoration of the structure of the damaged joint cartilage and care for the cartilage, i. e. intended for the treatment of joints;
- Muscle relaxants are used to relieve muscle spasm. It should be used with caution, because often the body protects the joint in this way from greater destruction.
- ointments and creams. It is intended to alleviate the patient's condition, but not to treat it.
- drugs for injections into the diseased organ. They are rarely used to relieve pain.
Manual therapy is the application of one of two methods. During mobilization, the doctor performs a slight extension of the hip joint, bringing together the bones that articulate with each other. If everything is done correctly, the movement of the diseased organ is partially restored and the spasm is reduced. However, the technique is quite time-consuming (up to 15 procedures per year) and must be comprehensive, i. e. be accompanied by drugs and other types of treatment.
The doctor performs the manipulation with one sharp movement, which brings immediate relief to the patient, however, this technique is effective in the initial stages of the disease in combination with other treatment methods.
Surgical intervention is performed in the last stages of the disease. Different types of operations can be used, depending on the specifics of the disease. Thus, joint-saving operations are performed with corrective osteotomies of the proximal femur and pelvis. Hip closure operations and joint replacement operations (or arthroplasty).
Arthrosis of the legs
It is possible to mark 2 types of deforming arthrosis of the legs: primary and secondary. Primary is characterized by the absence of visible causes of disease development and is considered genetic. Secondary arthrosis of the legs develops against the background of any disease (for example, flat feet) or injury.
Arthrosis of the leg joints is a general definition for diseases of the ankle joint (arthrosis of the foot) and gonarthrosis. Symptoms and treatment of joint diseases of the legs (feet and knees) are discussed below.
Foot arthrosis: what are the symptoms and how to treat
Symptoms are characterized by creaking in the ankle joint, aching pain when walking, which disappears at rest, limited joint mobility, swelling of the feet and redness of the skin in the joints, as well as atrophy of the adjacent muscles. The joints of the toes are most often affected. Osteoarthritis of the foot is diagnosed with an X-ray.
Treatment of arthrosis of the foot, as well as of the hip joint, can be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical methods include (in the initial stages of the disease):
- orthopedic shoes or the use of orthopedic insoles in comfortable shoes,
- low heel in shoes (3-4 cm),
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
- special medical gymnastics.
If foot arthrosis has reached II-III degree, analgesics can be prescribed and surgical intervention can be performed.
It is also important to follow a diet for overweight patients (to reduce the load on the leg joints). Shoes should be comfortable, with a low heel and not restrict movement.
Medicines are needed to relieve pain and help regenerate the cartilage in the affected joints.
Physiotherapy includes foot massage, therapeutic baths, infrared laser therapy, UV radiation, UHF therapy, magnetic and ultrasound therapy.
Surgical treatment methods can be:
- arthrodesis, in which there is a rigid fixation of the diseased area,
- arthroplasty, when the affected joint is restored by surgery,
- endoprosthetics - completely replace the diseased joint with an artificial one.
Symptoms and treatment of knee osteoarthritis
As with other types of arthrosis, the symptoms of nascent knee cartilage disease are mild pain during exertion, which disappears at rest. The knee may swell. It often occurs after leg fractures and dislocations.
Characteristic crunching occurs in the II stage of the disease and is accompanied by pain. There is also limitation of joint mobility, fluid accumulation is possible.
Treatment includes medications and treatment procedures:
- ozone therapy as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent,
- kinesitherapy is the performance of special exercises to improve the elasticity of ligaments and blood circulation,
- taking homeopathic medicines.
Treatment of arthrosis in folk ways
Of course, folk remedies should not be taken as a remedy for such a serious disease as arthrosis. But in combination with the course of treatment prescribed by the doctor, folk remedies will speed up recovery.
- To relieve painful symptoms, it is possible to use cabbage juice in which a natural piece of wool is soaked, and then compresses are made every evening. Cabbage juice must be used within three days, after which it must be made fresh.
- Compresses are also made from a whole cabbage leaf coated with honey. We apply the greased side to the joint, wrap it with cellophane foil and wrap it warmly. We leave it all night.
- To alleviate the symptoms of arthrosis of the legs, crushed white chalk or eggshells and kefir are mixed until a homogeneous mass is obtained, which is applied to the foot at night in the form of poultices. The calcium contained in these products improves blood flow and, accordingly, relieves pain and swelling.
- Oatmeal compress also helps in reducing pain in arthrosis of the joints. For the poultice, it is necessary to cook a thick porridge, cool it, wrap it in a cloth and put it on the sore spot overnight. You can only use once and then cook fresh.
- You can prepare an oral drink for pain relief. To do this, add 1 tablespoon to a glass of boiling water. l. olive oil and half a teaspoon of grated garlic. It should be taken 2 times a day when pain occurs.
We note once again that the main thing is to treat arthrosis in a comprehensive and timely manner, in order to avoid serious complications and surgical interventions.