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Gonarthrosis

Knee joint osteoarthritis, or gonarthrosis, describes a degenerative disease of the knee joint. In the course of the disease, the articular cartilage is increasingly destroyed. In doing so, other joint structures (ligaments, bones, …) are also affected. Frequently, but not always, patients experience stabbing pain in the knee joint. This pain is not permanent, sometimes shows up in the morning after getting up or after long periods of rest. Also by overstressing (after long walks, etc.), the pain can occur.
Furthermore, inflammatory and non-inflammatory phases alternate in the knee joint.

Gonarthrosis is a very common disease with a chronic course. Most patients are 60 years or older. But even young people can suffer from osteoarthritis. Women are affected more often than men.

Causes

As causes of osteoarthritis, many factors come into consideration. 

  • Genetic factors can play a role,
  • age affects the speed of regeneration
  • Overstressing of the joint comes into question
  • Metabolic influences are present and / or also 
  • inflammation

favor the emergence of the disease.

The exact causes of the changes in the joint have not yet been finally clarified.

Changes in the so-called “hyaline cartilage” are considered as the key to understanding the disease. An important component of this cartilage tissue is hyaluronic acid. This has a high ability to bind water.

By loading and unloading the joint, the cartilage is fed. In case of disturbances in the composition of the hyaline cartilage, the function in the joint may be impaired. The hyaline cartilage covers the bone ends in the joint. Biological “stress factors” can lead to changes in the composition of the cartilage and subsequently to cartilage loss. If the loss of cartilage exceeds the ability of the body to regenerate, the cartilage layer becomes thinner and thinner. The joint responds to this cartilage loss with a new formation of bone, which means “structural” changes in the joint and thus has disorders in the function of the joint.

Inflammations that occur as a result of these disturbed processes in the joint, favor the progression of the disease.

Treatment

Gonarthrosis must first be diagnosed by a physician. He will examine the affected joint. If there is a reliable diagnosis, the patient and the physician must mutually agree on an approach with regard to the actions to be taken. The cooperation of the patient is important for the success of the treatment, therefore a mutual decision regarding the treatment is important.

Basically, the sooner the treatment is started, the better the results will be.

In principle, conservative treatments (e.g. physiotherapy, rehabilitation sports, bandages, occupational therapy, …) are possible. Painkillers or dietary supplements may also be considered for use. Alternatively, injections into the joint can also be discussed. The injection of cortisone into the affected joint generates a quick relief, which, however, is short-lived (4 weeks) and can cause the joint metabolism to be thrown even further out of balance. 

In contrast, hyaluronic acid can – in many cases – also have an analgesic effect and is even superior to the injection of cortisone after 4 weeks. Hyaluronic acid is a substance well known to the body and occurs in the body in the form of endogenous (non-externally supplied) hyaluronic acid in many places in the body (such as synovial fluid / hyaline cartilage). Stabilized hyaluronic acid delivers one injection per treatment cycle and, depending on the stage of osteoarthritis, can create about 3 to 12 months calmness in the joint. The treatment can then be renewed (ideally before the pain recurs, because only then will the progress of the disease be stopped).

Osteoarthritis patients are overwhelmed with plenty of treatment options and reviews, which should be discussed with the physician on a case-by-case basis. Get more overview with our Osteoarthritis Guide:

  • Read more about osteoarthritis, causes, course and stages
  • Learn more about the goals of the treatment
  • Find out more about what your role as a patient is
  • Find out about physicians committees opinion
  • Find out more about hyaluronic acid as a treatment option. Why is it rated so differently and what can it really do?!

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