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Osteoarthritis and Paget’s Disease

Osteoarthritis is a common condition, even in people without Paget’s disease. There is evidence that people with Paget’s disease are more prone to develop osteoarthritis in joints adjacent to bones that are affected by Paget’s and the most commonly affected sites are the hip and knee. Paget’s disease is thought to predispose to osteoarthritis for two main reasons. The first is whether there is deformity of the bone. This can place abnormal stresses on the joints nearby. An example would be if a tibia becomes bowed, this can cause shortening of the leg, which can predispose to arthritis of the knee or ankle. The second reason is that the bone in Paget’s disease is denser than normal.  If there is increased density of the bone next to a joint, it results in abnormal strain being put on the cartilage (lining of the joint), causing the surface of the joint to become worn.

What can help pain from osteoarthritis?

- Make sure you are not carrying too much weight. If you are overweight, losing weight can help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis a great deal, especially when the knees and hips are affected.
- Muscle strengthening exercises can help reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knees. 
- Anti-inflammatory creams and gels, which are rubbed into the affected area can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis.
- When required, painkillers such as paracetamol may help, or, if this doesn’t work, anti-inflammatory tablets, like ibuprofen, can be tried. 
- If osteoarthritis becomes severe, particularly in your knees and hips, joint replacement surgery may be required. The most common reason for having a joint replacement is if the joint pain has not responded adequately to the measures listed above and it is having a negative impact on your quality of life.  The results of joint replacement surgery for osteoarthritis in Paget’s disease are excellent.

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