Most of us who have arthritic joints consider it a part of aging. The truth is that not everyone has the same level of change in their spines and extremity joints. Another truth is that not everyone with a joint injury develops arthritis.
Scientists are now learning that a joint that has been damaged by an injury is very likely to show changes within 10 years of the injury; a common finding with anterior or posterior cruciate repair injuries of the knee as compared to unrepaired injuries.
When you hurt, non movement due to pain is more likely to cause joint damage later on than when a person pushes through the pain and forces movement through the damaged area. Movement of the damaged area is rehabilitation and strengthening the area surrounding the damaged part is necessary.
Ligamentous injury is often a precursor to arthritic degeneration, especially if the articular surfaces of the joint were damaged as well. Much has been written about the idea of early intervention and rehab, except some of the newest information also suggests that weight bearing or movement that is too early after an injury can also cause further damage to a joint.
Unfortunately, not all rehab has been effective to damaged joints, which may be due to the mechanism behind the injury not being fully understood, resulting in treatment to the painful part rather than the mechanism making the part painful. People do not move with a joint, but use the joint with movement. The idea being a knee can become damaged in what seemed to be a knee injury, but be caused by foot, ankle, hip and back problems is short sighted, and unfortunately the path that most rehab to the knee takes, resulting in sub part results. Years of looking at just knee injuries the wrong way has resulted in millions of knee rehab and surgical procedures that had little long term value since those same people had a second and third injury, only to eventually have the joint wear out and need replacement. Perhaps, we need to be open minded about the mechanism of arthritis and how all the joints surrounding a damaged joint may have taken part in both the development of arthritis and joint failure with movement during activities of daily living or sports. In other words, a knee injury may be due to other joints affecting the knee, and an elbow strain or tendonosis may be a shoulder, pelvis and wrist problem which has the symptom of elbow pain, but the cause being elsewhere in the body.
Joint injury that is was not from impact on the joint itself should be suspicious, since it likely was the result of other dysfunctional joints causing the painful joint to fail. Perhaps, this is why the ideal approach to most injuries to a joint should be holistic, rather than reductionist, something most chiropractic sports physicians are well aware of which may be why athletes often search out a good sports chiropractor when they have pain in a joint.
What should you do and why is covered in a recent article in the NY Times which discusses osteoarthritis and why people develop it in their joints. Check out the NY Times article here
When Sports Injuries Lead to Arthritis in Joints
By JANE E. BRODY AUG. 14, 2017
When a physically active person like me injures a joint, especially one as crucial as a knee or ankle, one of the first thoughts, if not the first thought, is likely to be “How fast can I get back to my usual activities?”
That kind of thinking, however, could set the stage for a painful chronic problem years later: post-traumatic osteoarthritis.
In the rush to get back in the game, whether as part of a team or elite sport or simply a cherished recreational activity like jogging or tennis, it is tempting to short-circuit the rehabilitation needed to allow the joint to heal fully. But adequate recovery, including rehab measures aimed at strengthening structures that support the injured joint, is critical to maximize its stability, reduce the risk of reinjury and head off irreparable joint damage.