Mobility and joint pain
20% of the French population experiences joint pain1. It is estimated that 60% of people over the age of 65 are affected2. The areas mainly affected are the knees, hips, hands and vertebrae. Humans have always had joint discomfort. The skeletons found of our Homo sapiens ancestors bear witness to this.
Manifestations of joint pain
Joint pain is due to the physiological degeneration of joint cartilage. This destruction is generally accompanied by bone outgrowths. The joint becomes sensitive and less mobile.
Cartilage is a living tissue in which there is strong cellular activity. The production of chondrocytes (basic cells that make up the joint) is continuous.
It is normal for the cartilage to become worn with each movement we make. To compensate for this natural wear, chondrocytes constantly ensure the renewal of cartilage. However, if this balance is disrupted, the amount of cartilage diminishes and is never reconstituted. It is therefore important to start maintaining and taking care of your joints as early as possible.
On average, problems appear between the ages of 35 and 45. Women are generally more affected than men. This vulnerability could be associated with the impact on the bones of the hormonal upheaval during menopause. There are three main types of factors that promote joint pain:
These are determined at birth. They come from our parents’ genes but also from accidents or incidents during pregnancy.
These correspond to events that occur during our lives, such as aging, weight gain, and menopause.
These are associated with work, poor posture, intense sporting activity or accidents.
Development of joint pain
Joint pain develops in several stages:
After the age of 35, cartilage renewal is less effective and its quality begins to decline. Thus, the cartilage gradually wears out and can disappear. The ends of the bones receive less protection. They can no longer slide normally and they come into contact. This causes movement problems and painful symptoms, the intensity of which is directly proportional to the amount of wear.
Stage 1 - Cartilage degradation has begun. If there is no discomfort.
Beginning of wear
Stage 2 - Onset of discomfort, especially during exertion.
Stage 3 - Onset of other problems: stiffness, cracking, which often occur in the morning. These problems are almost permanent and very uncomfortable.
1 Source : presse.inserm.fr
2 Source : INSERM