Do you have persistent joint pain? Are your joints swollen and inflamed? If so, you may be at risk of developing arthritis. While there is no guaranteed way to prevent arthritis from occurring, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. One of those things is keeping an eye on the health of your joints. And one sign that your joints may be in trouble is if they develop wrinkles. Yes, joint wrinkles! Read on to learn more about this little-known sign of arthritic degeneration.
Being exposed to Arthritis
Joint wrinkles are a type of arthritis. We all have this obsession with cartilage being what causes pain and we think it’s because our joints become compressed, but in reality, they’re just late-stage problems that do not produce any discomfort until later on down the line when things start going wrong for you.
It’s not what most people experience for the majority of their exposure to arthritis. What arthritis is, is indeed joint erosion. The question is, why does one joint erode when the other one doesn’t and you’re using both of those knees or both shoulders? What makes the difference? There has to be something that people are not looking at.
As we all age, it’s visible on our skin, and it gets a little bit loose and saggy. We see wrinkles forming. So, why wouldn’t the same thing be happening on the inside? Although it’s just hard to see those on x-rays and MRIs. We need to look at how much erosion has advanced.
A joint that moves the way it was supposed to move does not have a reason to wear down. For example, your knees. You have two bones on top of each other and when your muscles flex to bend your knee, it’s like a rolling hinge joint. It should not wear down unless it is not held in place. Now, every time your muscles work, they have to slide and take up the slack. This happens on a smaller axis.
Because of moving in a smaller axis and that sliding, you get erosion and the term “arthritis”, but in reality, the precursor to all of that is a joint that has lost its stability and is wobbly. All these come from loose joint wrinkles.
What exactly causes that wrinkle?
Ligaments are the soft tissues that hold joints together. The tension line is along the path of the ligament. The ligament is supposed to have a certain amount of tension. If your body changes how it moves because of an injury, or if you have an old injury, the tissue that replaces the ligament might not be as strong as healthy ligamentous tissue.
As an analogy, much to the displeasure of Italians, we can picture this as a bundle of spaghetti (don’t break spaghetti!). When it’s all bundled up. It’s really hard to break. It’s easier to do it one by one, or if you’ve got a whole bunch of spaghetti going in different directions, it’s easier to break that bundle.
This is because the fibers are straight. This makes it strong. If you’ve had an old injury, that scar is no longer linearly aligned, it’s got scar tissue in it. While that scar might be stable for most of your life, at some point it starts to break down and causes some looseness within that ligament – creating joint wrinkles.
In medicine, how is this investigated?
Ultrasound images of knees, shoulders, and ankles show that ligaments lose their integrity over time. They become looser and wobbly and this can cause the joints to become loose. Keep in mind that ultrasound is a new way of looking at the body. It has only been around for about 20 or 30 years in mainstream medicine. Before that, it was mostly research.
Ultrasounds are not used by a lot of practitioners. But we use ultrasounds to look at everyone to see how soft tissue looks. We have seen enough people to know that the ligaments break down over time and this causes pain. Ligaments also make the joint loose which can cause arthritis.
When looking at somebody’s ultrasound, we don’t do it with our patients just they’re sitting or lying down. We get to see what happens if they move about therefore allowing us to see the difference when they are ambulatory and in movement. We will be able to identify findings that don’t show up as major problems yet.
We take into consideration the pain experienced by the patient. This type of pain happens every time they take a walk and then once the joint warms up, it somehow starts to move. This pain can go away, most people report. But this may be the small “canary in the cave” that’s signaling a progression. It could land itself towards an arthritic joint 5-20 years down the road.
It is historically recommended that people exercise to keep their bodies healthy. When you exercise, your muscles become stronger and can help support the ligaments. Here at Wellward, we have advanced therapies that help us recreate the stability of a joint.
Surgery is a last resort, but it’s not as simple or gentle of an option. It’s more like cutting up the body of your car to get at its wheels for you to fix alignment issues with a precision that can be difficult without making any permanent changes to what happens after surgery.
Whereas we can do it under ultrasound, where we can see everything and then inject it with prolotherapy agents. These are medications that help stimulate repair in your body. We can use platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which are growth factors or rich growth factors that help stimulate repair response. We can also choose a bone marrow aspirate fat-related stem cells. These are regenerative options that will have a very robust response on the body to tighten the structures up.
There’s a spectrum of options. It just depends on how loose the wrinkling has been. These therapy options not only help out with some of the wrinkles but helps out with some of the symptoms that you might see with arthritis, for example, tendon issues and ligament issues.
The beauty of these regenerative therapies is that they will help reduce joint wrinkles. Then as time goes on, that joint will start to rebuild its cartilage. You can regrow cartilage on your own. but if it’s not going as quickly as it should be, or if you want a more robust response, there are also regenerative strategies that will help accelerate the growth of cartilage.
So, do joint wrinkles mean you’re going to get arthritis? The answer is complicated. It depends on a lot of factors including your age, genetics, and exposure history. However, if you have any concerns at all about developing arthritis, please schedule a discovery call with one of our experts who can help assess your risk and recommend the best regenerative therapy plan for you. Thanks for reading!
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional