Arthrosis is the term used for changes in the joints as a result of wear and tear, on the one hand, and age, on the other. The most frequently affected joints are the large ones such as the knee, the hip and the shoulder, with joints of the hand and the spine also being affected.
Our continual use of our joints, excess physical strain, injuries and being overweight lead to premature wear and tear. As a result the cartilage loses its elasticity, becomes brittle and can be worn down by pressure and friction. Small particles of cartilage then begin to irritate the joint and the synovial membrane. The inflamed membrane is no longer able to produce the viscous synovial fluid and begins to produce an excess of watery fluid – which results in an effusion. Such inflammatory conditions can lead to a permanent loss of the ability of the synovial membrane to produce hyalonic acid and synovial fluid of the necessary quality, which are essential for both protection and nutrition of the cartilage. This results in increased wear and tear of the cartilage surfaces, creating a vicious circle leading to a reduction in the joint space and, finally, to direct impact of bone on bone, which causes increasing pain. Eventually, the surfaces of the joint no longer fit together. In serious cases this condition requires replacement of the joint by an artificial joint.