A traumatic injury can result in osteoarthritis, which causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling. When your joint has been injured, the cartilage that serves as a cushion starts to wear away and eventually the bones of the joint starting rubbing together and grinding. Inflammation also occurs.
Arthritisinformation.biz points out that osteoarthritis is generally referred to as wear and tear arthritis and the result of aging and overuse; however, it now also believed that other factors contribute to the development of this condition. Those factors include genetics, obesity and past injuries.
Ten percent of all arthritis cases (4.6 million) are considered post-traumatic arthritis, according to Dr. Steven A. Olson, principal investigator of the post-traumatic arthritis project and chief of the Duke University orthopaedic trauma section. Olson explains that anti inflammatory therapies given right after a fracture or injury has occurred might reduce the incidence of injury-related arthritis.
Dr. Farshai Guilak, scientist and director of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Laboratory in the Duke Department of Surgery, was involved in the same study with Olson. Guilak noted that controlling inflammation in a fracture may very well prevent the onset of arthritis. If arthritis drugs are used immediately after a fracture has been sustained, it is believed that this will inhibit inflammatory cytokines. The cells in our immune system release proteins called cytokines that help regulate our immune response. Regulating the cytokine levels is thought to be an effective way of preventing arthritis; however, more studies need to be done.
When a joint is injured, it can become inflamed. The joint will swell and become stiff and painful. The cartilage at the site of the injury can become brittle, pitted and rough, and the bone underneath broadens and thickens. Sometimes osteophytes, which are bony outgrowths, will develop along the outer edges of the joint. This makes the bone look knobby. The joint capsule and synovial membrane thickens, and the joint spaces narrow, which often increases the amount of fluid in the joint. The shape of the joint can be changed and become disfigured if the arthritis is bad enough.
According to Sandersclinic.net, arthritis will occur if an injury isn’t treated or isn’t treated appropriately. Injuries can result in derangement of a joint’s mechanics. An individual can tear the meniscal cartilage in the knee or the ACL or tear the rotator cuff or have recurrent dislocation of a shoulder and this will end up in arthritis.