Degenerative Joint Disease

Degenerative joint disease, also called osteoarthritis, is a medical condition characterized by the wearing away of the protective cartilage that lines the joints. It impacts many adults over the age of 50, although it may develop at an earlier age in individuals who frequently participate in high-impact activities, are obese, or have certain genetic predispositions.

Degenerative joint disease symptoms

The symptoms of degenerative joint disease will vary according to what area of the body is affected. It can impact any joint in the body, but most often develops in the spine, knees, hips, and hands. Symptoms will gradually worsen over time, and can include:

  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Tenderness around the joint
  • Reduced range of motion
  • The sensation that your bones are grating together

Degenerative joint disease treatment options

Degenerative joint disease cannot be cured. Still, there are many ways to effectively manage symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and maintain an active lifestyle. Many people are able to reduce their discomfort by implementing good habits, such as gentle stretching, low-impact exercise, and a nutrient-rich diet. Nonsurgical methods like physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, and medication also help many individuals stay healthy and active. Less commonly, surgery may be recommended to relieve subsequent nerve compression, or in advanced cases, replace damaged joints with artificial prostheses.

Orthopaedic Specialists in the Greater Pittsburgh Region provides a full spectrum of diagnostics, treatment, and long-term care to people with degenerative joint disease. To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified physicians, contact us today.


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