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Degenerative joint and bone disease, or osteoarthritis, is a chronic process of wear and tear on the joint that progresses with time. It’s also the most common form of arthritis, which affects about 27 million Americans. It can occur in any joint, but most commonly in the knees, hips, lower back, neck, and small joints of the fingers.
There are risk factors that increase the likelihood of degenerative joint and bone disease, mainly aging. Bone and joint degeneration can start in middle age, but it is most common in people older than 65. Other risk factors include:
At Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals, our orthopedic specialists can talk to you about your risk factors for bone and joint degeneration in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, and provide any necessary treatment. Take our quick joint pain assessment and find an orthopedist online to receive the care you need.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage covering the bones in the joint gradually erodes. Without this smooth buffer, bones can rub directly against each other. This causes pain and swelling. The pain tends to develop slowly and be dull and achy. It’s typical for the pain to be worse in the morning or with inactivity. The joint loosens up with activity, which can ease the pain. However, overactivity can cause a flare up, marked by increased pain and other symptoms.
Other signs and symptoms include:
Seeing your doctor early, when symptoms first start, can help slow the progression of degenerative joint and bone disease.
Treatment and prevention starts with nonsurgical strategies. Your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicines, and lifestyle changes such as modifying activities and losing weight. When you start these treatments early, it’s often possible to slow down the joint degeneration.
Surgery may eventually become necessary if these treatments fail to relieve your pain or other symptoms. The type of surgery depends on:
Options range from arthroscopic (minimally invasive) repair to total joint replacement. Discuss all of your options with your doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your lifestyle.