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June 6, 1953


Author Affiliations

The Committee of the American Rheumatism Association consists of Dr. Charles Ragan, New York, Chairman; Dr. Harry A. Feldman, Syracuse, Dr. William S. Clark, Cleveland, Drs. Edward E. Fischel, Edward Lowman, Currier McEwen, and Morris Ziff, New York, and Drs. Joseph L. Hollander and Ralph A. Jessar, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1953;152(6):522-531. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.63690060010011

DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE  Although this common articular disorder has been variously named osteoarthritis, hypertrophic arthritis, senescent arthritis, and arthritis deformans, the term degenerative joint disease is preferred.

Etiology.—  The cause of degenerative joint disease is unknown. Extensive studies of postmortem material indicate that degenerative changes in the cartilage are the earliest anatomic abnormalities and that there is good correlation between the severity of such changes and advancing age. Deterioration of cartilage in the knee joint may be demonstrated in some persons toward the end of the second decade of life and is present in 80 to 90% of persons over 60 years of age. Increased wear and tear through weight-bearing and excessive or abnormal use of a joint is known to accelerate and enhance the tendency to degenerative changes. Contributory factors include occupational stresses, obesity, and poor posture. Articular degenerative phenomena are also increased by a wide variety of functional

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