Risk factors | Causes of arthrosis

Risk factors

Risk factors for the development of arthrosis are mainly lack of exercise and overweight, as the joint is subject to a great deal of stress. The same applies to regular lifting of heavy loads or sports injuries. Women suffer from osteoarthritis more frequently than men, and the risk also increases with age.

The main focus here is on incorrect loading of the affected joint, which promotes degenerative wear and tear of the joint cartilage. This incorrect loading can mean, on the one hand, that a whole joint is loaded more than the opposite side and has to withstand more force, or it can mean that within a joint, due to incorrect positioning of the joint axis, part of the joint surface is loaded more than another part. This one-sided additional load can be caused by a difference in leg length.

The overloading of a part of the joint surface is usually caused by a congenital axial difference, such as knock-knees or scoliosis, or after a fracture, when the bone grows together again in such a way that the joint surface can no longer be loaded optimally evenly. Another risk factor is obesity, since the increased body weight means that all joints have to bear an equally heavy load and the joint cartilage wears out much faster due to the high pressure. In some cases, an unhealthy and unbalanced diet can also increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

In addition, old age is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, because for years the joints and their cartilage surfaces are exposed to enormous but also smaller regular loads and then wear and tear occurs naturally. In addition, there are still genetic factors that increase the risk. Metabolic diseases and inflammatory joint processes, such as rheumatism, are also among the risk factors for osteoarthritis.

Since arthrosis is a degenerative disease, it is important to prevent it by eliminating factors that promote degeneration through various measures. Although aging and genetic predisposition cannot be prevented, sufficient exercise and a healthy diet can have a positive influence on the respective characteristics. If there is a joint malposition, it would be advisable to have it checked and corrected by an orthopaedic surgeon, as in the long run this almost always leads to arthrotic changes in the joint.

After a bone fracture, arthrosis can be prevented by an operation to restore the original bone shape and joint axis as much as possible and by using physiotherapy to try to relearn the movement sequences without damaging the joints and cartilage. In addition, treatment should be given for existing metabolic diseases and inflammatory joint diseases that have a negative influence on the condition of the joint cartilage. Arthrosis can also be prevented with a healthy level of sporting activity.

On the one hand, weight, which is too much, is reduced, which is easy on the joints, and on the other hand, the vitality of the tissues and also of the joint surfaces is maintained. However, caution is also required when trying to prevent with sport, because depending on the type of sport, the degenerative process can be promoted more easily. This is especially the case in those sports where the joint surfaces rub against each other very strongly and with high frequency or where a heavy weight is placed on the joints.

Swimming and cycling, for example, are recommended. Since smoking reduces the supply of oxygen to the tissues, a reduction in consumption or even a stop smoking would also be recommended.