What is activated arthrosis?
Actuated arthrosis is the most severe form of arthrosis (joint wear and tear). It occurs when a joint that is already affected by arthrosis is stressed too much or for too long. The typical signs of inflammation are pain, swelling, redness and restricted mobility.
The pain of activated arthrosis is usually permanent, not just under stress. Arthrosis is difficult to treat, but the activated inflammation can usually be “deactivated” again and brought to rest. However, the more often a joint undergoes activated arthrosis, the shorter the pain-free intervals between activations become. Activated arthrosis is thus the opposite of so-called dormant arthrosis. Dormant arthrosis is also associated with joint damage, but no acute signs of inflammation can be detected.
Causes for the development
The most common cause of acute arthrosis is a strain on an already existing arthrosis. In the case of arthrosis, the cartilage layer in a joint is constantly being reduced by overloading. The already existing arthrosis can sometimes cause only slight discomfort and may therefore not be recognized.
If the joint cartilage is then almost completely or even completely worn away, bone rubs against bone and the affected joint becomes inflamed, the arthrosis “activates”. The immediate trigger is often a heavy load on the affected joint. The arthrosis itself can have many different causes, please see our article on arthrosis.
You can recognize an activated arthrosis by these symptoms: Activated arthrosis is indicated by typical signs of inflammation in the joint. Most patients first notice the pain, which during a resting arthrosis is often only felt during the first movements (so-called starting pain). However, with activated arthrosis, the pain occurs at least during the entire load, often even at rest.
In addition, there is a swelling of the joint, which cannot always be detected with the naked eye, but can sometimes be palpated. It is caused by the formation of inflammatory fluid in the joint. Overheating of the joint can often be felt or felt.
Reddening can also occur – but a joint that is not visibly reddened does not rule out activated arthrosis. Patients themselves often experience stiffness and/or weakness of the joint or adjacent muscles. Crunching or cracking noises during the movement of the affected joint can also occur. In very severe cases, often left untreated for years, a deformation of the joint may even occur.
Diagnosis of an activated arthrosis
The diagnosis of an activated arthrosis can often already be determined by the examination of the physician, especially if arthrosis is already known as a previous disease. For further diagnosis, imaging can also be ordered by the physician. The simplest examination, which can often be carried out immediately by the doctor on site, is sonography (ultrasound).
This allows inflammatory fluid (effusion) in the joint to be detected. The means of choice for assessing the cartilage is an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) examination. If the disease is already advanced and could also affect the bone, CT or simple X-ray examinations may also be necessary.