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Tricompartmental Osteoarthritis as a type of joint inflammation

tricompartmental osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a disease associated with joint inflammation, or, medically speaking, with degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Knee joint is most commonly affected by this disease. As is generally known, the knee consists of three compartments: medial, lateral and patellofemoral. Usually only one of these compartments becomes affected by osteoarthritis, but sometimes all three compartments may be inflamed. Such medical condition is called tricompartmental osteoarthritis.

Causes of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common problem of elderly people. But it also may develop due to repeated knee injury, including joint strain, ligament tear, fracture and other mechanical injures. Obesity and overstrain may also provoke the injury, as overweight causes stress for the joints. Osteoarthritic is a genetic disease, so people with genetic predisposition to it are more likely to be affected.


Common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:

- pain and tenderness;
- stiffness;
- limited range of motion of the knee or locking;
- swelling;
- creaking of the joints.

On the first stages of the disease these symptoms may be mild and usually do not cause a lot of troubles, but with years pain and other symptoms are becoming more and more severe. Pain is usually increases when the weather is humid and cold. Also the pain is worsening after activity and overstrain of the knee. On the other hand, if the knee is motionless for a long time, then stiffness may worsen.

Diagnosis and treatment

Tricompartmental osteoarthritic, as well as any other type of osteoarthritis, can be revealed or confirmed with physical examination and X-rays.

Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is a chronic disease and cannot be cured; medicines are used only for treatment and reducing of the symptoms. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain and inflammation and to prevent aggravation. Here is the list of common analgesics used:

- Paracetamol (Acetaminophen in US), reduces pain but not inflammation;
- NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, nabumetone and naproxen), reduce both pain and inflammation, but may have gastrointestinal side effects;
- if the pain is too severe than opioids (morphine and fentanyl) are prescribed.

Apart from these analgesics the following treatments are used:
- topical pain-revealing creams (capsaicin, salycin and menthol);
- injections of corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid derivatives;
- cartilage supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate;
- weight loss in case of overweight.

Doctors also usually recommend special exercises or physical therapy to overcome the symptoms. Knee support like braces is often used.

In the last resort the disease is treated surgically by replacement of one, two or three knee compartments. This procedure involves replacement of the damaged joint surfaces with plastic and metal prostheses.
It is very important to start treatment at the first stages of the disease in order to prevent its worsening and development of severe symptoms. So if you experience any minor symptom you should immediately visit your doctor and do not wait till the disease progresses.

These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!

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