Polyarthrosis, ideopathic arthrosis, joint wear and tear, cartilage abrasion, cartilage wear and tear, chondromalacia (softening of cartilage), osteoarthritis English: Osteoarthrosis Medical: Arthrosis deformans


Arthrosis is a degenerative change in the joints and their appendages. In this context, corresponding pain and movement restrictions often occur. The arthrosis usually manifests itself without accompanying inflammatory components.


The term arthrosis initially means nothing more than joint disease. In medicine, however, arthrosis is defined as an increasing, age-related abrasion of cartilage in the body’s joints. This cartilage abrasion can be gradual (latent arthrosis) or can turn into a painful disease (activated arthrosis).

In advanced cases, there are also changes in the bone near the joint, the joint mucosa, the joint capsule and the muscles surrounding the joint. Therefore, arthrosis as a clinical picture is not limited to the abrasion of cartilage alone. Ultimately, arthrosis can also lead to the destruction of the joint.

The joint then loses its shape. In this case, the term arthrosis deformans is also a common description of the disease. If the arthrosis occurs in many joints at the same time, it is called polyarthrosis.


Sooner or later every person can suffer from osteoarthritis. The whole human being consists of biological tissue, which is subject to natural wear and tear over the years. In orthopaedics, wear-related (degenerative) changes in the joints are the main focus of the disease patterns to be treated.

Both men and women are affected. However, there are differences in the frequency of the individual clinical pictures. The disease begins insidiously, usually after the age of 50, and progresses in phases.

At the beginning, the arthrosis is usually asymptomatic, later it manifests itself in part through severe pain. From an appropriate age, changes in the sense of an arthrotic change (joint wear and tear) can be seen in practically all joints. Interestingly, the extent of cartilage abrasion is not directly related to the patient’s symptoms.

This means that a patient with relatively little cartilage abrasion can suffer from significantly more pain than a patient with significantly more advanced arthrosis. The reason for this is that cartilage abrasion as such does not cause pain. Instead, the inflammation of the mucous membrane (synovialitis/synovitis) of the joint caused by the cartilage particles is responsible for this.

This also triggers the overheating of the joint and the formation of water within the joint (intra-articular) (joint effusion). Any joint can be affected by arthrosis. However, the most frequent changes are found in the large, load-bearing joints: Cartilage wear on these joints has the greatest clinical relevance in orthopaedics.

The frequency of arthrosis increases with age. In general, the risk is different for each joint individually. The most common are found in descending order:

  • Facet Osteoarthritis
  • Knee arthrosis (gonarthrosis)
  • Hip arthrosis (coxarthrosis)
  • Ankle Joint Arthrosis
  • Metatarsophalangeal joint arthrosis
  • Thumb saddle joint arthrosis
  • Finger Arthrosis
  • Other joints.