Could a fracture in a joint actually help cartila... - PMRGCAuk


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Could a fracture in a joint actually help cartilage regeneration?


Here is a puzzle. I've had osteoarthritis for many years and it was always under control. I didn't take any medications for it. Now it has become worse and it may be partly because of the extended time I've been on oral pred. We now know that steroid injections damage cartilage. But before I came down with PMR I sustained a tibial plateau fracture. At the time x-rays of both knees revealed the beginnings of OA and I was told the fracture would make things worse. Oddly, the knee which is bothering me and the enlarged top of the tibia is not the one which was broken. The one which was broken is fine. And this morning I've read that if there is an injury such that blood can reach the cartilage it can actually stimulate cartilage regeneration, which normally is minimal owing to the very small amount of nutrients provided to cartilage. Not suggesting that anyone go break their joints in order to slow down the progression of OA, but it does raise an interesting question.

12 Replies

Very interesting! Do you have a link?

HeronNS in reply to yogabonnie

It's in this discussion.

I did once read some articles on this after I saw a documentary about the way Russian Specialists were breaking bones and resetting them with a small gap in order to lengthen people's limbs. I wondered whether this might build bone but of a poor quality .

My own father had suffered some very nasty fractures in the ankle which were not set properly and we're broken again in order to help strengthen the weaknesses.

The article as I remember ( sorry it was in a journal at the library , I don't have a link , Old Skool) discussed how breaking a bone can make it stronger by releasing plentiful calcium supplies and other mineral nutrients to the break site .

However , the downside was that although the site being repaired grew back much stronger than before the surrounding bone,, and sometimes other bones , became demineralized and could become weaker , especially if there was a need to inactivity of the bone , or bones and joints , while healing , or in a cast , therefore having a potentially negative impact overall.

It may explain why some people with bone health issues can have numerous breaks or fractures in the same bone or joint over a number of years , not in the same location but in a similar shape close to one another.

It's an interesting topic.

Demineralisation , and changes in the speed of tooth and bone growth while unwell , is one way that bone and teeth can be used by Paleoarchaeologists to see the overall health and traumatic events that have happened during a life from the skeleton . It can be used to discover the health issues of previous generations , or the causes of Death of unearthed Early Man . It causes rings and ridges , like those of a tree , with the size of weak spots and texture showing what Illnesses the person suffered from and it's severity and duration. A much earlier AIDS sufferer was discovered than Scientists originally had concluded the Disease existed from some such sort of tooth analysis of an old sailors bones.

Goodness knows what a future archaeologist will make of Me if they dig me up!!!😋😂😂

Thanks for the Brain Training xx

scats in reply to Blearyeyed

Your bones will have to have a "do not disturb" notice

HeronNS in reply to Blearyeyed

Which is why when I was in recovery I was really careful to exercise throughout, proactively went for physio as soon as able, and ate plenty of protein!

PMRproAmbassador in reply to Blearyeyed

That is actually a technique they use for people with short long bones in their legs - you break the long bone and use a cage to hold the bones a bit apart until they grow together.

Hidden in reply to PMRpro

I have seen a couple of documentaries with such stories. The kids had to turn a "key" every so often to move it but keep it growing.

HeronNS in reply to Hidden

One of my young friends had a club foot. This was operated on a number of times, but the leg was shorter than the other so he actually had the longer leg shortened.

Research is being done on regenerating cartilage for people with osteoarthritis. The drug company is currently in stage 2 trials to get the drug on the market. There has been quite a lot of scepticism but if it works a few orthopaedic surgeons may have problems!

I have been trying PRP (Platelet-rich plasma therapy) for my knee. I have just had my second injection I am not sure if it is working yet.

HeronNS in reply to piglette

If it's of the order of the monoclonal antibodies I shall be giving it a pass. 😲

Really interesting.


Makes sense - and I have a very damaged knee from 26 years ago that I keep expecting to show OA and had pain in it a couple of years ago. A rheumy had told me there was OA in it when I was seeking a dx for what turned out to be PMR - an x-ray 2 years ago said no sign...

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