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Relief From Degenerative Joint Disease Symptoms

written by: Sherry Morris • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 4/20/2011

Degenerative joint disease is caused by wear and tear on a joint. Cartilage can break down and wear away. Being overweight, active long term sports or family history can all increase your chances.

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    Degenerative joint disease relief

    Degenerative joint disease relief has changed over time. This disease was once considered a problem of old age, it has begun to show up more in middle aged and young adults as a result of sports injuries and obesity. A new treatment approach is being taken. Doctors now are recommending physical therapy rather than telling patients to take it easy and rest the joint. Studies have shown that with weight loss, physical therapy and exercise, joint function improves and muscles become stronger. Even mild exercises can be painful, but doctors say the pain becomes reduced and the patient will experience improved mobility. This disease only worsens when patients don't keep moving.

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    Images

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    Treatment

    Over the counter medications can help to ease knee pain, such as tylenol, ibuprofen or naproxen. Creams containing lidocaine, a numbing agent are also helpful. Icing the knee can help to reduce inflammation and help pain. However, do not use longer than 20 minutes at a time.

    A lightweight compression bandage is also helpful. It helps to reduce fluid build-up and maintains knee alignment and stability.

    Elevating the leg by placing pillows underneath the leg can help to reduce swelling and drain away any fluid.

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    Options

    Aerobic exercises such as swimming will not put stress on the knees, hips or spine and can reduce inflammation in the joint.

    Alternative treatment would be yoga, acupuncture and herbal supplements.

    Experimental techniques to repair cartilage loss in the knee by transplantation of the cartilage cells is looking promising.

    Arthroscopic surgery to trim torn and damaged cartilage.

    In younger patients, hip and knee preservation procedures should be considered to avoid knee or hip replacement. A procedure called an osteotomy is an excellent alternative. The surgeon cuts across the bone and realigns the leg. This procedure can reduce pain by transferring the pressure on the joint away from the worn out part of the knee.

    Another option would be fusing the bones. The surgeon can permanently fuse the bones in the joint to increase stability and reduce the pain. The joint can then bear weight without pain, but has no flexibility.

    Total or partial replacement of the damaged joint. (Knee replacement, shoulder replacement, hip replacement, ankle replacement or elbow replacement.

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    Conclusion

    Degenerative joint disease treatment depends upon multiple factors, including age, medical condition and X-ray findings. Always confer with your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. Every person is different, pain and stiffness may keep one person from performing simple daily activities, while others are able to maintain an active lifestyle. Your physician knows your complete medical history and will know the best treatment plan suit to your own individual case. Going in with a little knowledge of the options always helps.

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