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Osteoarthritis - 1

  • Date Submitted: 08/18/2013 06:37 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 39.9 
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The aim of this paper is to discuss Osteoarthritis in regards to the normal structure and function of joints and to then analyse the pathophysiology of the disease and the effect it has on the normal process within the body. Osteoarthritis is a result of abnormalities and physiologic disturbances to the synovial joint. This involves functional changes to articular cartilage: deterioration of chondrocytes, subchrondral bone and the synovium. These changes affect not only the cartilage, but impact regional muscles - the consequence may be atrophy and flaccid ligaments.   Due to the underlying abnormalities, physical manifestations such as pain, tenderness, inflammation and effusion can result, often affecting mobility. Whilst the pathology remains the same, Osteoarthritis can be classified as either primary or secondary, depending on the cause of the disease. As Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease it is prominent in the elderly and most commonly found in the knees, hips, hands/fingers and spine.

Osteoarthritis is commonly referred to as ‘Degenerative joint disease’ being characterised by the deterioration of articular cartilage, exposing the subchondral bone beneath. Before elaborating on the degeneration of articular cartilage, let’s first discuss a typically healthy synovial joint. Normal synovial joints consist of articular cartilage, a firm, smooth material reducing friction and works as a shock absorber. This cartilage is protected by a joint capsule which is lined with a synovial membrane that produces synovial fluid. “The synovial capsule reduces the friction between the bones allowing more smooth movement” (Scott, 2012). Articular cartilage makes possible the painless, low friction movement of synovial joints, consists of a sparsely distributed population of highly specialised cells called chondrocytes that are embedded within a matrix and provide articular cartilage with remarkable mechanical properties (Buckwalter, Mankin & Grodzinsky, 2005)....

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