What is gonarthrosis and what are the factors that cause it?

Gonarthrosis is a degenerative arthropathy, characterized by the progressive degradation of the articular cartilage, followed by marginal bone remodeling of the osteophyte type, subchondral sclerosis, as well as inflammatory changes of the synovial membrane and of the articular capsule.


Gonarthrosis – causing factors

Factors favoring the onset of gonarthrosis are:


  1. General factors:

Age: getting older leads to decreased properties of articular cartilage (decreased tissue hydration, decreased synthesis processes, increased catabolic processes).


The excess weight by increasing the mechanical stress, affecting the articular biomechanics caused by the changes of posture. A reduction in body weight by 5 kg decreases the risk of symptomatic gonarthrosis by 50%.


Heredity – there is a genetical connection regarding the disease (the presence of gonarthrosis in several family members) due to the impairment of genes that ensure the synthesis of collagen and proteoglycans.


Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperuricemia.


  1. Local factors (intra and extra-articular)

Repeated use of the joints: repeated physical efforts (sports such as rugby, soccer, performance skiing, athletics); activities such as lifting weights, intense physical effort).


Trauma to the knees leading to rupture of the cruciate ligaments, meniscus, dislocations, fractures.


Affection of the articular cartilage after inflammatory or infectious diseases.


Gonarthrosis: classifications

Primary gonarthrosis – occurs as a result of reduced cartilage resistance, with a marked predilection in women, towards the age of menopause. The average clinical onset is 50 years old, the localization being usually at the level of the femoral-patellar compartment, which usually diffuses over time to the entire joint.

Secondary gonarthrosis – occurs after changes in the architectural structures of the knee (trauma or a congenital anomaly of deviation of the biomechanical axis of the pelvic limb). The clinical onset is earlier, in young people, usually occurs unilaterally and is not accompanied by arthritic changes of the other joints.


What other (risk) factors can promote gonarthrosis

Certain professions or occupations

Repetitive actions can put additional stress on the joints of your knees, and preferences that require such repetitive actions can increase the risk of gonarthrosis. Job duties that fall into this category could include:


When you have to kneel or bend more than one hour every day;

The fact that you lift heavy objects;

The fact that you climb stairs often;

Even walking a lot can, in some cases, cause gonarthrosis.


Incorrect posture

The fact that don’t have a good standing posture can deform your joints and thus increase your risk of gonarthrosis.


Other types of arthritis

There are other types of arthritis that can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life. These include gout, septic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Other medical conditions

Diseases that affect your joint health (we are not just referring to your knee joints) can affect your risk of osteoarthritis. For example, diseases that affect your blood circulation or inflammation in the body can, at the same time, influence your risk of osteoarthritis. Some medical conditions associated with osteoarthritis include: osteonecrosis, Paget’s disease, diabetes, gout, subactive thyroid gland.

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