Injuries and Arthritis
Inflammation is a variable feature to osteoarthritis and joint injuries often lead to swelling and inflammation. Does this mean if you injure a joint you will inevitably get osteoarthritis (OA)?
The simple answer is no, but with an asterisk next to it. Roughly 12% of all osteoarthritis cases may be due to a previous joint injury or trauma. This OA is sometimes referred to as post-traumatic arthritis or PTOA. Common injuries associated with PTOA are ligament injuries/ruptures, meniscus injuries, or intra-articular fractures (a bone fracture where the break crosses into the surface of the joint). These injury types release an inflammatory response to the joint. The body is very smart though, and even though there is this a pro-inflammatory response, there is also an anti-inflammatory response as well. The more we use the injured joint, the more the pro-inflammatory response takes over and the more chances there can be additional micro injuries. Thus; continuing the cycle of damage. Simply, when you have an acute injury and there is the pro-inflammatory response continually happening of the joint, this can lead to the damage of the articular cartilage (the ends of the bone). This continued damage does not happen overnight though, so there are steps you can take to limit it from happening.
How to protect your joints
– Resting the injured joint to make sure you are not damaging it further
– Seeing a doctor or specialist to confirm/assess the injury
– The use of a brace to help protect the joint or to limit swelling
– Using cold therapy to limit and prevent swelling and inflammation
The severity of the initial injury, the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory response to the initial injury, and the repeated micro-injury that happens to the joint are common factors that can lead to an osteoarthritic change in the knee later in life. And yes, roughly 12% of all OA cases may be due to previous joint injury. But that also means the 88% may not, and those are pretty good odds. Take the proper steps early in an injury, so those steps do not become more painful later in life: figuratively and literally!
How Can We Help?
The Arthritis and Injury Care Centre is a collaborative practice, with services from a wide range of health professionals who work together to provide individuals with all the treatment options available to help manage their symptoms and achieve their goals. We offer orthopedic and sport medicine consultations, physiotherapy and massage therapy, bracing and cold therapy products, as well as HA injections.
We strive to be with patients on their entire journey and provide them with the education and support they need. We see courageous individuals walk through our doors daily who battle arthritis, in one form or another, each and every day of their lives and we take Arthritis Awareness Month as an opportunity to do everything we can to educate our community about all of the resources available to them. If you or a loved one would like more information on how we can help, please contact us for an opportunity to meet with one of our staff today.