Joint Deformity Due to Osteoarthritis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Joint deformity from osteoarthritis causes pain, disfigurement, and debility. Several factors precipitate the formation of osteoarthritis and joint deformity.
Some signs and symptoms of joint deformity are obvious, while others are subtle. Treatments are available that prevent deformity, reduce symptoms, and may enhance the quality of your life.
How Does a Joint Become Deformed?
Cartilage is a tough, white smooth type of connective tissue which lines and protects your joints. Over time, it becomes yellow, thin, and rough, and may break down.
Loose pieces of cartilage may float in the fluid that cushions your joints. As a result, inflammation occurs and spaces within your joints narrow. Bone tissue begins to grow at the site of damage.
This occurs within the joint; especially at the sites where ligaments and tendons normally attach. The bone surfaces become uneven. Your bones may rub against each other. The bone continues to grow abnormally, resulting in further deformity.
Some people are more likely than others to develop joint deformities? Abnormal cartilage and crystal formation in your joints hasten deformity formation, and chronic inflammation due to other illnesses makes you prone to changes in your joints.
Your job may also predispose you to joint changes. For example, if you have a history of working in a field that required frequent heavy lifting, your joints will suffer.
How Can I Tell If My Joints Are Deformed?
You may experience pain, though the degree of joint damage may not be reflected by the amount of pain you experience. Studies indicate that individuals who have minimal pain may have extensive joint deformities, while severe pain may arise in the presence of slight joint damage.
Consult with your health care provider and utilize diagnostic studies as ordered by your physician so that the degree of joint damage and deformity may be identified. You may have severe internal joint deformities without the damage being visible externally.
X-rays are the primary diagnostic tools which are used to evaluate joint health. Blood tests may be used to rule out causes other than osteoarthritis. Occasionally, a sample of the fluid from a joint is obtained. This is also used to rule out other causes of joint deformity.
Next page: general signs of joint deformity.