Arthrosis is a serious disease affecting the joints. The disease has several stages, which differ in the severity of symptoms and the level of progression of the pathology. According to medical statistics, every fifth person in the world has a disease, so the topic is quite relevant. In the article, we find out what degrees of arthrosis exist, what is their difference and features.
Arthrosis is the destruction of the cartilage tissue of the joint, leading to the appearance of unpleasant and painful symptoms, in severe cases and to partial immobilization of a person. Doctors divide the development of arthrosis into three stages, but sometimes a fourth appears – in the case when the therapy no longer helps, and the only way out is surgery.
The disease occurs for many reasons, including:
- Untreated injuries of joints, ligaments, sprains;
- Undeveloped, weak muscles;
- Systematic vitamin deficiency;
- Overexertion of the joints;
- Circulatory problems.
Causes may also include arthritis, other joint diseases, malfunctions of the endocrine system, metabolic disturbances. Hereditary factors, excess weight and the presence of flat feet complicate the matter, provoking the disease.
Since the surface of the cartilage during the disease becomes not smooth and elastic, but rough, severe pain occurs when moving. With the progression of arthrosis, not only the joint itself is affected, but also the ligaments, muscles, tendons located in close proximity.
If you do not start treating the disease in time, the first stage will not slow down the transition to more serious levels. When arthrosis reaches the last, third or fourth degree, disability and loss of ability to move the affected limb are possible. Next, we consider in detail the stages of osteoarthritis or just arthrosis.
Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to recognize arthrosis in time at the initial stage. The fact is that the joint during this period is still quite mobile (although in one direction), only slight stiffness is noticeable from time to time. Sometimes the patient also observes a slight crunch in the sore joint, there is aching pain, a tingling sensation.
Often patients with a first degree of arthrosis complain of rapid fatigue. In the morning, people with this disease need some time to “diverge”, to feel the mobility of the joints.
If pain occurs, then only at the beginning of motor activity and disappears as the pace increases. More often aching joints in the process of climbing stairs, physical exercises like squats. Unpleasant sensations occur less often when a person sits down or stands up. After resting, the pain goes away.
As a rule, such relatively mild symptoms do not bother anyone, and most people attribute them to various factors that are not related to the main problem: climate change, uncomfortable posture during work, sleep, excessive zeal in training, etc.
And even if there is a person whose symptoms are seriously worried, the x-ray is unlikely to reveal arthrosis at this stage. The disease will be detected only by an experienced doctor with a direct examination of the joints by palpation. Perhaps this is the only way to detect osteoarthrosis of the first degree. Ultrasound and tomography can also help in the diagnosis.
Arthrosis of the first stage is accompanied by initial changes in the structure of the cartilage tissue of the joints. Cartilage becomes cloudy, less elastic, physical activity is reflected negatively on it. Further, the cartilage is thinning more and more, cracks appear on it.
At this stage, folk remedies can also help:
- Lotions with horseradish;
- Ointments with propolis, wax, horseradish (rub into the affected area).
In addition to the use of traditional medicine, it is also necessary to engage in physical therapy and adjust the diet. It is important to reduce weight to reduce stress on the joints.
If the first stage does not start treatment, arthrosis will not slow to go to the second stage. During this period, symptoms and changes in the joints are already much more noticeable. The destruction begins, the deformation of the cartilage tissue, which progresses especially strongly during physical exertion.
Symptoms become more severe: a person quickly gets tired, the joints no longer ache, but really hurt, loud, distinct crunches are noticeable. The movements become constrained, the patient makes some physical poses either with great difficulty or cannot at all. Bending and unbending limbs becomes difficult.
And if in the first stage of arthrosis pain occurred only at the beginning of the movement, then in the second they persist for the entire period of motor activity. The pain occurs even in the process of minor, weak physical exertion, and after the transition to a state of rest does not pass for a long time. Often additional synovitis develops, which is accompanied by a strong swelling of the joint – usually the knee.
If joints on the legs are affected, often walking canes and crutches are already required in the second stage of arthrosis. When the joint on one leg is affected, the diseased limb is shortened, which leads to the appearance of a limping gait.
Cartilage is already quite affected: cracks are more visible, sometimes pieces of tissue come off. When the dead tissue enters the joint cavity, bouts of severe pain occur. And since the pains are severe, usually patients reduce the load on the affected joint, try to use it as little as possible. This is a serious mistake leading to hypotrophy of muscle tissue, a decrease in muscle strength.
If osteoarthrosis at this stage does not begin to be treated, further joint deformation will continue, and cartilage tissue will wear out even more. Fortunately, the second degree of arthrosis is already easily diagnosed, so the appropriate treatment is prescribed.
Usually, a patient with this disease is prescribed protein preparations that restore cartilage, physiotherapy exercises and physiotherapy. It is necessary to take chondoprotective drugs, as well as vasodilator agents. The recommendations of doctors should be followed rigorously and unconditionally if the patient wants to recover.
Using traditional medicine as the main treatment at this stage is a futile and even harmful idea. However, correctly selected folk remedies can be a good help for basic drug therapy.
If a person does not begin treatment of arthrosis in the second stage, the disease goes to the final stage. Note that if the disease can go from the first to the second stage for a relatively long time, then from the second to the third – much faster. And the consequences of the final degree of osteoarthrosis are very serious.
In most cases, the amplitude of movement of the diseased joint to the third stage of arthrosis does not exceed 15 degrees. If the joint on the leg is affected, the patient is forced to move only with crutches, and even in a wheelchair. The deformation is visible to the naked eye. Inflammatory symptoms such as fever, swelling, and redness of the affected area are often observed.
At this stage, the disease is treated with complex measures, including:
- Drug therapy;
- Manual therapy;
- Therapeutic physical training.
Of the physiotherapeutic procedures, most often with stage 3 arthrosis, the following are used:
- UHF therapy;
- Laser treatment;
- Microwave therapy.
In some cases, the third degree goes into the fourth. If the disease reaches this most severe stage, the pains already become intolerable, there is little sense from all medical manipulations. Usually, only surgery can help in the fourth stage: during the surgical procedure, the affected joint is replaced with a prosthesis.
Surgery with the replacement of a diseased joint with an endoprosthesis today is the most radical, but at the same time the most effective way to solve the problem of arthrosis. This area of surgery is rapidly developing, progressing and becoming fundamental in the treatment of severe joint diseases.
As you can see, all degrees of arthrosis have their own characteristics and features, but it is best to consult a doctor at the very beginning of the disease. During this period, the highest probability of a complete disposal of the pathology without serious consequences. Arthrosis is a disease requiring compulsory medical intervention: self-medication, as well as postponing a visit to the doctor for later, are not permissible in this case.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.
I have been treating joints for many years. I can say with confidence that the joints are always treatable, even in the very ripe old age.
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