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Degenerative Joint Disorders

Degenerative joint disorders are conditions that are caused by inflammation, wear and tear, and loss of cartilage in the joints. These conditions are estimated to affect 50% of adults who are 60 years or older. Although the conditions can affect all joints in the human body, most of these disorders tend to occur on the knees, hips, hands and spine.

Some of the most common degenerative joint disorders include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Also known as degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis, it is the most common form of arthritis and tends to occur in the hands, hips and knees.
  • Disc Degenerative Disorder or Spondylosis: Known as DDD in short, this is a condition whereby one or more discs in the back progressively lose their strength due to aging.
  • Spondylosis: Also known as spinal osteoarthritis, this is a degenerative condition that affects the joints in of the spine.
  • Mechanical Back Pain: This refers to any type of back pain caused by placing abnormal strain on the muscles, ligaments, nerves or the bony structures of the vertebral column. It is also known as low back pain, idiopathic low back pain, lumbago, lumbar syndrome or lumbosacral sprain or strain.

Causes of Degenerative Joint Disorders

These joint disorders usually occur as a result of inflammation, and wear and tear of the cartilage in the bones over a period of time. Some of the risk factors that lead to degenerative disk disorders include:

  • Obesity
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Muscle strains
  • Osteoporosis
  • Gender
  • Torn cartilage

Symptoms of Degenerative Joint Disorders

  • Swelling and stiffness of the joints
  • In some cases, feeling of warmth coupled with redness on the affected joints
  • Decrease in range of motion
  • Joint deformity if left untreated
  • Severe pain and aching
  • Inability to stand up straight without pain
  • A shooting or stabbing pain that can radiate down the leg to the foot
  • Reduced range of motion and diminished ability to flex the back

Diagnosis of Degenerative Joint Disorders

Diagnosis of joint degenerative joint disorders is crucial in finding the right treatment and management of the disease. A physical examination by a specialist is usually followed up with tests such as:

  • X-ray to show the bone alignment
  • CT or MRI scans to reveal any problems with muscles, bones, tendons, tissue, nerves, and ligaments
  • Bone scan to look for bone tumours or compression fractures
  • Blood tests to determine the presence of any infection
  • Nerve studies using Electromyography (ECG)

Treatment of Degenerative Joint Disorders

After a definitive diagnosis of any degenerative joint disorder, a treatment protocol is started with the aim of minimizing the intensity of the symptoms which include pain, discomfort and swelling, in order to improve the function of the affected joints, and to prevent any more damage. The type of treatment a patient receives usually depends on the particular disorder, and this may include medication, therapy or surgery.

Next Step

At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service, from initial consultation through to final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of expert doctors, nurses, physio therapists are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.

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