Arthritis

Updated 23 December 2015

Causes of osteoarthritis

What are the causes of osteoarthritis?

0

Osteoarthritis used to be seen as a result of wear and tear of the joints.

However, the disease is now regarded as having several subtypes, with some being more aggressive and related to immune mechanisms, resulting in “inflammation against self” and an erosion of the cartilage and adjacent bone – called erosive osteoarthritis.

The mechanism is a complex system of interacting mechanical, biological, biochemical and enzymatic feedback loops. When one or more of these fail, osteoarthritis occurs.

Anything that changes the microenvironment of the bone cell may initiate the chain of events which lead to osteoarthritis, i.e. congenital joint abnormalities, genetic defects, infectious processes, metabolic processes and neurological disease.

Trauma to a joint may initiate osteoarthritis, including prolonged overuse of a joint or group of joints.

Osteoarthritis has a large tendency to be a genetically primed disease, especially in the end joints of the fingers and the spine.


Read more:

Drinking milk may slow knee arthritis in women

Sport and osteoarthritis

Reviewed by Dr Ingrid Louw, MBChB, MMed (Int), rheumatologist/physician, (private practice), June 2011

 

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Arthritis expert

Professor Asgar Ali Kalla completed his MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town and his FRCP in 2003 in London. Professor Ali Kalla is the Isaac Albow Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Cape Town and also the Head of Division of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital. He has participated in a number of clinical trials for rheumatology and is active in community outreach. Prof Ali Kalla is an expert in Arthritis for Health24.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules