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What is Arthropathy?

Arthritis is a form of arthropathy, a disease affecting the joints.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 June 2014
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Arthropathy is a blanket term that is used to refer to diseases of the joints. There are a number of different forms with a variety of causes that require different approaches to treatment. These conditions can be quite painful, and they usually require treatment to inhibit further degeneration of the joint. Staying active and eating a balanced diet can help to reduce the risk of joint diseases and other illnesses.

The symptoms of arthropathy vary, depending on the root cause. In many cases, patients feel pain around their joints, which may also feel somewhat stiff. In the case of neuropathic arthropathy, however, these symptoms are reversed, with patients experiencing a loss of sensation around the joint due to nerve damage. People with certain illnesses and over a certain age are at an increased risk of diseased joints, and their healthcare providers will usually keep an eye on their joint health for this very reason, checking for signs of problems regularly.

Another common form is crystal arthropathy, which involves the deposition of crystals into the joint. This form is associated with gout, a painful condition in which crystals of uric acid accumulate in certain joints of the patient. Patients with diabetes are also at risk of related joint diseases, as are patients with irritable bowel disease.

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In addition to being caused by an ongoing medical problem, arthropathy can also be the result of an infection or inflammation of the joint, or latent infection somewhere in the body. This is known as reactive arthropathy, and like all infections, it requires treatment to ensure that it does not spread. This condition can be caused by a malfunction of the immune system as it responds to an infection elsewhere in the body, and joint problems with no known cause may be a signal of an infection that requires attention.

Facet arthropathy results in back pain, and is caused as the facet joints of the back experience degeneration and inflammation. This condition can be extremely uncomfortable, often requiring a period of rest and the use of multiple medications to try to reduce the inflammation and associated pain. In extreme cases, this condition may require surgical treatment.

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Discuss this Article

anon952380
Post 8

I just happened to wonder across this site and, having read a lot of information on arthritic (rheumatoid) disease processes for the last 17 years, as well as being a current patient of facet arthropathy, I believe I can contribute some information.

@Gigivan: With what I've learned, water exercise for arthropath is often the best so the buoyancy of the water can allow the spinal structure to sort of decompress. This can provide pain relief and increase your stamina for strengthening exercises of those back muscles. As for treatment, facet injections seem to be the ticket.

Injections can not only provide longer term pain relief, but are diagnostic tools as well. Just make sure you get all the imaging done. X-rays are important (bending and standing), but CT scans are recommended for closer evaluation.

Hope this provides something useful, but I am not a doctor and do not intend to be handing out medical advice. I am simply a woman who is suffering and am offering my personal opinions and experiences only.

Good luck and good health!

Azuza
Post 7

Interestingly enough, other conditions can cause the same symptoms as chronic arthropathy. When I was younger, I had a pretty severe allergic reaction to a medication I took, and it actually caused my joints to swell!

At first my doctor thought the problem was caused by a joint condition, but he later figured out it had been caused by the medication. It was very uncomfortable, so I can definitely sympathize with arthropathy sufferers.

Monika
Post 6

@strawCake - I hear a lot about arthritis too, and I'm scared to death of getting it. One of my main hobbies is knitting, which I obviously have to use my hands for.

Also, I do some freelance writing, which involves typing. I suppose I could use text to speech software for that, but it wouldn't help for knitting! I would hate to have to give up one of my hobbies because I was sick.

Anyway, I'm a little surprised we don't hear more about arthropathy and arthropathy treatment, because it can be quite debilitating. There are joints all over the body, and anything that causes joint pain or impairs joint functioning could really disrupt someone's life.

strawCake
Post 5

I guess arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthropathy then, because it's a disease of the joints that causes them to become inflamed. Arthritis definitely seems to be one of the most common arthropathies too, I think it's the only one I hear about on a regular basis!

My dad and a few of my other relatives have arthritis. Also, there are a ton of commercials for arthritis medications on television, but I don't think I've ever seen one for medicine for other kinds of arthropathies.

anon135970
Post 4

Try radio frequency ablation. They hyper excite the nerve till it's deadened, giving nerve impingement relief.

anon114143
Post 3

I've gone through vertebroplasty, which didn't help.

I had several Facet injections, and they didn't help.

And this pain is killing me. I'm being treated for major depression disorder. On some days, I feel like just giving up.

helpmum
Post 2

what is talonavicular arthropathy?

Gigivan
Post 1

Anyone has recommendations for treatment or exercise for Arthropathy?

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