Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent type of joint disorder. It is due to the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Surgery, such as hip replacement for hip joints, is intended for cases of OA that do not respond to other modes of treatment. But as a doctor stated in an editorial article, many hip replacement surgeries are avoidable.
OA, otherwise known as the “wear-and-tear” arthritis is idiopathic in nature. Health practitioners believe that various risk factors may cause the condition. However, OA is not caused by any single risk factor. Age, obesity, injury or overuse, genetics, muscle weakness, gender and other underlying diseases are some of the listed risk factors. Having these risk factors does not necessarily mean that one will surely acquire osteoarthritis.
The distinction between correlation and cause was clarified by Dr. Louis Pack, author of the book The Arthritis Revolution. In his editorial in CNN, he pointed out that age, believed to be the leading cause of OA, is correlated to the condition. He added that age was not the reason behind the condition. Majority of osteoarthritis cases affects only a single hip or knee joint, says Dr. Pack.
This logic is true of weight as well. Some considerably overweight patients who are not osteoarthritis patients were presented by Dr. Pack. Some patients who suffered from arthritic joints have weights less than normal. Of the many patients whose weight is above normal, only a single hip or knee is affected, he says. Certainly, not only a single side bears the weight.
The process of osteoarthritis is frequently preceded by abnormal alignment. A five-degree misalignment from the ankle to the hip increases the progression of OA three to four times, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001. The results were confirmed in 2008 by the researchers of the famed Mayo Clinic. A 55 percent increase on the risk of OA of the knee for each degree of bad alignment from the ankle to the hip was concluded. It was further stated in the study that "age was only weakly associated with an increase risk."
Abnormal alignment was concluded to be the principal cause of osteoarthritis. If treatment methods are focusing on this cause, researchers say, patients needing replacement surgeries will decrease. There will be reduction in the number of patients needing hip replacement surgery and possibly affected by DePuy hip replacement recall.