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Complications of Osteoarthritis

Topic Overview

Most people find osteoarthritis to be a nuisance that eventually becomes significant enough to affect their daily activities. And sometimes there are more serious complications.

Possible complications of osteoarthritis include:

  • Rapid, complete breakdown of cartilage resulting in loose tissue material in the joint (chondrolysis).
  • Bone death (osteonecrosis).
  • Stress fractures (hairline crack in the bone that develops gradually in response to repeated injury or stress).
  • Bleeding inside the joint.
  • Infection in the joint.
  • Deterioration or rupture of the tendons and ligaments around the joint, leading to loss of stability.
  • Pinched nerve (in osteoarthritis of the spine).

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
Last Revised April 8, 2011

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