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The Link Between Joint Trauma and Arthritis

For decades, physicians have grappled with the question of why arthritis tends to develop in joints that have previously experienced trauma. A new study, focusing on targeting and inhibiting chemicals involved in the communication between cells known as cytokines, has left many researchers hopeful that a link between arthritis and previous joint injury will soon be discovered.

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a condition that develops in around 50 percent of cases involving traumatic joint injury. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 12 percent of all osteoarthritis cases are made up of post-traumatic arthritis, making it a leading cause of disability in the country, especially in cases involving wounded soldiers.

While it is well-established in the medical community that a link between joint injury and the later development of arthritis exists, there has been little medical research on the cause behind the phenomenon. Some researchers have posited that after a joint sustains trauma, cartilage cells begin to self-destruct. As a result, there are not enough cells to support the cartilage matrix that holds the joint, which in turn causes a series of inflammatory responses in the joint, ultimately leading to further cartilage degeneration. However, the definite cause remains unknown.

Studies focusing on inhibiting cell communication have had promising results in treating and preventing post-traumatic arthritis. For instance, in a 2012 study published in the HSS Journal, scientists were able to successfully inhibit a specific type of cytokine, which ultimately prevented the development of arthritis in a previously injured knee joint.

Personal Injury and Post-Traumatic Arthritis

In many cases, a simple injury, such as joint damage, that seems relatively simple to treat can have far-reaching health consequences. For instance, traumatic joint injury usually requires a simple realignment of the joint and the restoration of the surface where the bones meet. This can be a painful process that requires immobilization and therapy, but it is a condition that can be treated successfully. Arthritis is much more difficult to treat and can be a source of pain for the rest of a person’s life.

Unfortunately, the negligent actions of others can affect a victim for the remainder of his or her life. Medications that attempt to treat arthritis can be expensive. Those diagnosed with arthritis may also be unable to continue in their current source of employment, particularly if the occupation requires lifting or typing. These stresses can have a significant impact on a person’s health, finances, and personal life. While no amount of compensation can make up for the pain and suffering a victim experiences, the recovery of damages can go a long way toward ensuring that victims receive the best medical care available.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have sustained a joint injury due to another person’s negligence, you may be able to obtain compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, the loss of future income, and pain and suffering. Please contact a dedicated and experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., for a free consultation.

Contact us for your consultation (215) 567-3500