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chronic metabolic disease of the joints, accompanied by changes in the articular surfaces of the bones.
Arthrosis may arise as a result of intoxication, infectious disease (for example, typhus and syphilis), joint trauma (fracture of the articular extremities of the bones, injury to articular cartilage), and also with significant functional overwork of the joint (for example, in ballet dancers and longshoremen). Chilling (for instance, among workers in hot factories) is known to be a significant factor.
The basis of the disease is disruption of nutrition to the articular (epiphyseal) extremities of the bone. As a result of changes in the permeability of the blood vessels that nourish the bone or of injury to them, aseptic necroses arise, aggravating the joint disease. Thus, the disease is progressive.
At first, pathological changes appear in the internal (synovial) membrane of the bursa, later affecting the cartilage covering the articular surfaces of the bones. The cartilage is gradually destroyed, baring the bone. Osteal tissue is split in some places, thickened in others; thornlike spines are formed. A clinical picture of deforming arthrosis develops.
Arthrosis develops most often in the hips, knees, and first metatarsophalangeal joints. Usually middle-aged and elderly persons are affected. The disease is manifested by pains which appear gradually, occur periodically, and are aggravated after intense physical overwork, or contrariwise, after a prolonged state of rest. Joint mobility is curtailed as a result of pain. Nerve trunks and tissues surrounding the joints become inflamed. Joint function suffers as a result of defensive tensing of the muscles.
Treatment is given on an outpatient basis and in sanatoriums and health resorts (Tskhaltubo, Evpatoriia). Pain-relievers, hormonal preparations (adrenocorticotropic hormones), physiotherapy (thermal and ultrasonic procedures), therapeutic exercise, and massage are prescribed. In serious cases surgery (arthrodesis, arthroplasty) is required.