Pain as a symptom
The main symptoms of an arthrosis attack include pain in the affected joint. These can develop at different speeds, some patients report a gradual increase in symptoms, while others report acute pain. What they all have in common is that the pain mainly occurs when the joint is moved, and is often described as stabbing. The inflammation leads to increased blood circulation in the joint, which can become noticeable as a throbbing pain component. As the inflammation subsides, the pain should also subside during the healing process.
The causes of an arthrosis relapse have not yet been fully clarified scientifically at this stage. However, various causes or underlying diseases are known that can lead to arthrosis, including cartilage-damaging events such as sports accidents and work-related stress or congenital joint malformations. Overloading, injuries or malpositions of the joint appear to cause damage and, as a result, increasing wear and tear of the cartilage.
The thickness of the cartilage layer decreases over time until finally the bones rub directly against each other. The wear and tear process also causes inflammation that affects the entire joint and leads to further destruction of the joint. The joint cartilage itself is not supplied by nerves, so that the beginning abrasion goes unnoticed at first.
Only when other parts of the joint are affected, for example the periosteum, the synovial membrane or the muscles, does the patient begin to notice pain. A relapse is often followed by years of rest until the pain reoccurs, which is also known as silent arthrosis. The pain-free intervals then gradually become shorter and shorter, and the pain more and more intense.
Learn more about the causes of osteoarthritisAn exact trigger for an arthrosis attack is usually difficult to determine. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that can be considered as the cause of an arthrosis relapse. A sudden severe overloading of the joint can promote an arthrosis relapse.
Long-term stress or malpositioning of the affected area can also contribute to the development of an arthrosis relapse. The cartilage of the joint is increasingly damaged. This tissue damage attracts immune cells, which are responsible for the development of inflammation. It is still unclear whether infectious diseases, such as influenza, can also be partly responsible for arthrosis relapses.
The diagnosis begins with a precise anamnesis of the symptoms of an acute arthrosis attack and a physical examination of the affected joint. To exclude other diseases with similar symptoms, an X-ray is then often taken. Already in the early stages of the disease, a narrowing of the joint space is visible in the X-ray image.
Subchondral sclerotherapy follows in the further course of the disease. By this the physician understands a radiologically visible compression of the bone below the cartilage layer, which is whiter in the picture than the surrounding area. In addition, osteophytes, i.e. bony attachments, and recesses in the bone filled with lost tissue, connective tissue and fluid (pebble cysts) may be visible. Magnetic resonance imaging and arthroscopy can also be used.