Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Is osteoarthritis a joint ‘wear-and-tear’ disease?

Osteoarthritis was considered the 'wear-and-tear' of joints. But there is no evidence that it is caused by overuse of the knee.

Executive Summary Video

For decades, we have been hearing that one develops osteoarthritis of the knee due to wear and tear of the knee cartilage. The implication is that one should not overuse the knee joint to prevent it from getting worn out. The claim is that running marathons, climbing stairs, or even playing some sports can erode the cartilage.

But there is no truth nor scientific evidence to show that to be the case. This detailed article on this website will give you all the information you need: Everything you want to know about running and knee osteoarthritis. Running is one of the most ‘stressful’ exercises for joints.

If a knee joint is used improperly, injured, or if there is a biomechanical deformity in the leg, it leads to inflammation in the joint. Such inflamed cartilage degrades with exercise or activity. However, regular usage, even the so-called overuse, can not wear normal ‘non-inflamed cartilage.

Cartilage is a living tissue. It contains mechano-sensing cells—chondrocytes—that track the impact forces on it and call upon the body to strengthen it if desired. With normal use, the cartilage strengthens further. Only when it faces inflammatory damage does it start degenerating.

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First published on: 24th November 2021
Image Credit: Ernesto Velazquez from Pexels
Last Updated on: 17th December 2021


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