4 Injuries That Put You at Risk for Arthritis Later On

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For many people, arthritis is a consequence of the wear and tear of everyday living. It happens when the cartilage that cushions the joint between two bones breaks down and the bones start to grind against each other. This leads to pain and limited movement in the joint. However, age isn’t the only triggering mechanism that can put a person at risk. There are factors other than aging and the passage of time that can lead to this condition. One type of the disorder is called post-traumatic arthritis, and old injuries are the cause. These injuries damage the cartilage and/or bone, changing the mechanics of the joint and making it wear out more quickly.

Sprains

A sprain happens when a ligament is torn or bruised. A ligament is a tissue that attaches one bone to another. Medical researchers believe the arthritis that sometimes follows damage to the ligaments can be triggered by inflammatory processes caused by the injury.

Torn Cartilage

Cartilage is the flexible material that cushions the joints. If this material is torn, it can lead to inflammation around the joint that can cause arthritis to develop even months or years after the initial injury. Cartilage is made largely of collagen, and when the cartilage is damaged, the collagen loss is permanent. The area also loses glycosaminoglycans that help make connective tissue. This loss causes cells in the area to die and decompose, which can also lead to arthritis.

Fractures

There are several types of fractures, including open and closed fractures, spiral fractures, oblique fractures and compression fractures. Whatever type it is, a fracture changes how the joint works. This can speed up wear and tear. A bad fracture can also damage tissue and blood vessels in the area. The degradation is speeded up even more if the fracture is not properly treated or the person is overweight. Older adults are more likely to suffer fractures than younger individuals due to lower bone density.

Dislocations

A dislocation happens when a bone slips or is pulled out of its joint. However, a dislocation is often accompanied by torn tendons, ligaments, muscles and blood vessels. The inflammation caused by these injuries can lead to post-traumatic arthritis.

Arthritis can have various causes. Sometimes it’s due to injuries that affect the bone and its structures. Doctors believe this is largely because the injuries destroy cartilage, which provokes inflammation that further causes the cartilage to degrade. People can lower their risk of post-traumatic arthritis by resting and icing their joints after playing sports and by doing exercises to increase their joint strength.

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