Degenerative Joint Disease
Commonly known as osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is defined as the degeneration and eventual loss of the cartilage lining the joint. Cartilage is a layer of connective tissue serving to decrease friction between joint services. With increased wear and tear as well as natural aging to the joint OA advances. The cartilage continues to wear away increasing friction between two bones. Excessive weight bearing and irritation to the cartilage causes pain and swelling.
The most common symptom of OA is pain in the affected joint after repetitive use. Other symptoms include swelling, warmth, and stiffness after immobility. The joints most susceptible to OA are weight bearing joints such as knees, hips, and the spine. Reducing the demand/weight placed on the joint can tremendously help to reduce symptoms.
Physical therapy interventions to treat OA include stretching and strengthening to the muscles surrounding the joint, neuromuscular reeducation as well as manual techniques such as distraction, Active Release Techniques® and joint mobilization.