Mechanical Joint And Soft Tissue Disorder
Mechanical joint and soft tissue disorders are a group of conditions caused by either wear and tear or repetitive strain injury. This usually occurs in the joints, ligaments, tendons, and bursae.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of mechanical joint pain. It tends to affect the wear-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and spine but it could affect any joint in the body. Joints that are exposed to excessive physical stress are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage, which is a shock-absorbing substance that upholds the two bones of the joint and reduces friction between them. Over time the space between the two bones reduces, causing them to rub against each other, leading to pain and stiffness. It usually takes years before an individual starts to experience symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is caused by injury from repetitive movement of part of the body. It can affect any part of the body but most often the elbows, shoulders, forearms, wrists, and hands. Joints, ligaments, tendons, and bursae can become inflamed when put through stress from repeated movement. Symptoms of RSI include aching, burning, throbbing, cramps, tingling, and swelling. Advanced age and jobs or hobbies involving repetitive movement are risk factors for RSI.
Rheumatologists routinely diagnosed and treat mechanical joint and soft tissue disorders. It is done through a combination of history taking, physical examination as well as blood tests and scans. Treatment includes exercise and stretching therapy ( physiotherapy), pain relief as well as steroid injections.