It occurs when the cartilage wears down gradually and worsens over time producing pain and limiting the movement of the joint.
It is the most common degenerative joint disease, characterized by the destruction of the hyaline cartilage that covers the bone surfaces.
Cartilage is a tissue that acts as a shock absorber, protecting the ends of the bones and favoring the movement of the joint. When osteoarthritis develops, this cartilage loses its properties. It can even disappear, causing the ends of both bones to rub together directly, producing pain.
It is the most frequent joint affectation; it often becomes symptomatic in the fifth decade of life and is almost universal (although not always symptomatic) at 80 years of age.
The fundamental symptom is pain, of insidious onset, deep and poorly localized. This pain usually appears when the diseased joint is strained and generally worsens as the day progresses. As the disease progresses, the pain may appear with rest or night rest.
Other symptoms are joint deformities and limited mobility with pain on pressure, clicking and crepitus of the joint. Growth of the ends of the bones forming the joint may cause the joint to enlarge and widen.
There are no specific laboratory alterations of osteoarthritis nor any marker that allows a diagnosis or follow-up of the disease.
Radiology in the early stages may be normal, although the most typical is to observe a narrowing of joint space associated with subchondral sclerosis, appearance of marginal osteophytes (bony prominences), cysts and abnormalities of bone contour.
Possible complications include:
Treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee with mesenchymal stem cells has achieved significant symptom relief in more than 90% of patients.
MSC infiltration is applied to slow the progression of osteoarthritis, especially in large load-bearing joints such as the knee or hip.
Intravenous MSC therapy has been observed to help decrease the symptoms of osteoarthritis, such as pain, effusion, deformity, loss of motion and inflammation of the synovial fluid found in the joints.