Is osteoarthritis systemic?


i presented with inflamed painful left knee. Osteoarthritis diagnosed. Soon after also my right knee and then my right hip. No other joints yet examined.

So is there some inflammatory product circulating in blood to cause catabolic damage to other joints or is adjustment to gait causing abnormal loading on other joints?

In the case of the Covid infection, the severity of the infection is caused not by the virus but by the body's immune response (cytokine storm) and one might hypothesise therefore that deterioration of an arthritic joint might similarly affected by the body's anti inflammatory response which specifically targets and attacks cartilage and chondrocytes?


  • Megi56
    Megi56 Member Posts: 5

    Hello, jooms! I had my first episode of arthritis when I was just 25. In my right knee. Didn't respond to anti-inflammatory drugs, so GP gave steroid injection. Nasty! Something I got used to over the years, though, as various joints became inflamed. So, here I am, today......I have a degenerative spinal condition that causes non-stop pain. Maxed on painkillers. My right hand is a mess of grossly-swollen knuckles, that limit movement in the whole hand. Right index finger is bent at its tip. Middle finger beginning to bend. It's depressing that I can no longer do what I used to be able to do without a thought. I used to play guitar: can't now. Used to draw, knit...All lost. No treatment, I'm told.

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520

    I was born in 1959 with an over-active immune system so the arrival of psoriatic arthritis in 1997 (but undiagnosed as such for nine years) was no surprise. The diagnosis of osteoarthritis in 2011 was, however, because I thought I had ticked the arthritis box. The cartilage in both ankles and both knees has gone, worn away by bad gait due to the PsA in my toes and knees, my being overweght at times, and life generally.

    The inflammatory response with the OA is localised to the affected joints and goes with rest. I know when it will happen so can take some avoidance measures. The inflammation caused by the PsA is very different in nature, affects my whole body, makes me feel very, very tired for weeks and I have no idea when it will come despite the meds which suppress my immune system to control disease activity. My PsA inflammation is now often too small to measure. I've never had a blood test to measure OA inflammation because it goes whereas, in the first five years of the PsA (which began in my left knee) it came, and came, and came, soldifying into lumps which eventually needed surgery to remove. My knee ended up 27" in circumference, all above the knee cap. It looked odd, felt worse, but I look fondly back at that time when it was just the one joint. Life was far easier then.

    Any form of arthritis is degenerative and progressive, for some not very much, for others much more so. There are around ten million arthritics in the UK, the majority with OA. I link it to general physical deterioration as the years pass and n my experience people both with and without it misundersand it and its impact on life. It is an equal opportunities disease, not just the preserve of the elderly. DD

    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben