Degenerative arthritis is one of the most prevalent and equitable diseases in the world. Joint degeneration is a problem faced by all people, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or gender. The most common forms of degenerative arthritis occur in the knee joints and spine, followed by the hip and finger joints. Because of differences in lifestyle and habit, patients will present with different levels of severity, symptoms, or order of appearance of symptoms.
Degenerative arthritis affects various structures within the joints, causing the wearing and thinning of cartilage, proliferation of bone spurs, insufficiency of synovial (joint lubrication) fluid, joint cavity stenosis, joint deformation, chronic inflammation of the tendons and ligaments, and decrease in muscle strength.
There are a variety of different treatments depending on the affected joint and the presented symptoms. For degenerative knee arthritis, injections of hyaluronic acid may help relieve pain, but these injections are not applicable for degeneration of finger joints. General treatment includes strength training to increase muscle strength and improve joint stability, and stretching exercises to help maintain elasticity of the surrounding soft tissues. During the more painful acute period, however, modality-based therapy and medication are recommended to better relieve the pain for a short period of time. Clinical evaluation by a medical professional is necessary for proper treatment prescriptions, and we advise against unscientific, alternative treatment methods. Though there is no cure-all medication for joint degeneration, please do not give up on other potential treatments.
Aging is a normal physiological phenomenon. With age, wrinkles and spots will appear on our skin due to loss of elasticity, just as the joints that worked for us day and night will gradually degenerate. As long as the effects of degeneration can be controlled to an extent that is consistent with our age and not affect our quality of life, we can move much more freely and comfortably throughout our aging years.