Osteoarthritis is due to joint damage, not aging —Expert

A physiotherapist, Dr. Najim Raji, says that daily stress on the joints, especially the weight-bearing points on the knee, ankle and hips, plays an important role in individuals who develop osteoarthritis, a joint damage, rather than aging.

dr. Raji spoke at the World Physiotherapy Day in 2022 with the theme of “Osteoarthritis” organized by the Nigerian Society of Physiotherapy (NSP) Oyo State Chapter, at the Medical Services and Hospital, 2 Division Nigerian Army Headquarters, Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Ojoo, Ibadan.

He stated that the damage in the joint can have a cumulative effect over time. Therefore, age is one of the leading causes of joint damage leading to osteoarthritis, as the older a person is, the more repetitive strain an individual’s joints would have undergone.

According to him, “aging in itself does not cause osteoarthritis, nor should osteoarthritis be considered synonymous with the “normal” aging process.

“However, several factors associated with aging can contribute to its development. For example, trauma before adulthood can initiate a remodeling of bone that alters joint mechanics and nutrition in ways that only become problematic later in life.

“Even people in their 20s and 30s can develop osteoarthritis, although there is often an underlying reason, such as joint injuries or repeated joint stress from overuse.”

dr. Raji said the causes of joint injuries also include past injuries from a torn cartilage, ligament injury or dislocated joints, joint deformities, obesity and poor posture, although pain is the main symptom of joint damage due to osteoarthritis, among others such as joint stiffness at rest, swelling, tenderness and loss of flexibility.

However, he urged individuals with painful joints to seek timely treatment, saying that early treatment can help stop permanent damage in the joint and this also affects the other joints in the body.

Chairman, NSP Oyo State Chapter, Dr. Olubukola Olaleye, said that unlike before, osteoarthritis can be prevented and when it has developed, it can be treated, hence the awareness raising and free treatment in the military hospital in Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment.

According to her, in Nigeria, seven out of ten patients with a degenerated joint problem currently have osteoarthritis and the tendency to develop it increases with age and obesity.

She stated that “physiotherapists play an important role in the prevention of osteoarthritis and its management by prescribing appropriate exercises and counseling whether the person needs to lose weight and strengthen the muscles around the joint.”

Earlier, Major General Aminu Chinade, the headquarters of the Nigerian Army’s 2nd Division, stated that the work of army officers entails movement and there is a possibility that they may develop arthritis.

Chinade, represented by Col Nuhu Musa, added: “This will further sensitize everyone to the use of physiotherapy, it is very beneficial for us.”

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