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Subchondral sclerosis - Symptoms and Treatment

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Subchondral sclerosis - Symptoms and Treatment

Subchondral sclerosis is a disease that affects the bones and specifically the joints, of people who have osteoarthritis. Subcrondal sclerosis causes joint pain and numbness due to increased bone density and mass, producing a thin layer of bone beneath the cartilage in the joints. This disease is chronic and painful, but it is easy to detect and includes several different treatments. At we'll explain a bit more about the treatments and causes of subchondral sclerosis.

This article is dedicated to Jano Galán, who in 2012, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He is a friend of us at and created an amazing project called DGENERACIÓN after being diagnosed. Don't forget to check it out. Many thanks.

You may also be interested in: Causes of Subchondral Sclerosis

Subchondral sclerosis treatment

Treatment for subchondral sclerosis can be varied depending on the affected area and intensity of the disease. Below we list some treatment options, but remember to always consult a specialist who will prescribe the appropriate treatment:

  • Physical exercises such as swimming and using a stationary bicycle.
  • Weight reduction.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Electrotherapy.
  • Movement therapy.
  • Orthotics.
  • Thermotherapy.
  • Acupuncture.
  • Ozone therapy.
  • Supplement your diet with glucosamine, condroiton and methylsulfonylmethane.
  • Do strengthening exercises and stretch the muscles that support the back.
  • Avoid bad posture and improper body mechanics.

Subchondral sclerosis symptoms

When the acetabular cartilage and the femoral head begin to diminish, it produces subchondral sclerosis, causing the bones to react to the lack of hyaline cartilage. At about 55 years of age, ulcerations and erosions can be observed in the subchondral bone without its cartilaginous lining, even without any known pathological alteration and simply due to normal wear and tear (aging joints). Another symptom of subchondral sclerosis is a decrease in height due to degenerative changes, that results in joint space narrowing. In X-rays, this appears as a sharp white line (increased bone density) in the weight bearing joints, such as the hip socket and the femoral head.

External signs of subchondral sclerosis

Subchondral sclerosis can be detected with radiology, i.e. it's visible in X-rays of the joints and is the result of a reactive bone response, resulting in increased bone density of the underlying articular cartilage bone (that's underneath the joint).

It's typical of osteoarthritis, but can also occur in other diseases. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease which affects most of the mobile joints (hip, spine, hand, knee) and is produced by alterations in the cartilage and subchondral bone and is the result of several diseases with similar symptoms due to the wear and tear of aging.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO doe not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis.We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you'd like to read similar articles to Subchondral sclerosis - Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you browse around our Diseases & secondary effects category.

  • If the pain is very acute, your best option may be surgery to replace the joints. This will eliminate the symptoms.
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What did you think of this article?
Hi. After having an xray and scans, the GP advised my son today that he has subchondral sclerosis and cyst in his wrist. He referred him to a specialist and my son has to make an appointment. He has only just turned 22. Isnt he too young for this to happen? There isnt a history of osteoarithritis in our families. Can anything else cause this?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Janine,
The specialist will be able to look further into the causes of your son's subchondral sclerosis and clarify what has caused it.
However, you should know that it can also be caused by Osteochondrosis, which can affect children and adolescents and in turn can occur for a number of reasons which are not directly related to family medical history. On the other hand, arthrosis can be caused by hormonal imbalances too.
Again, only a specialist can give you a final diagnosis.
Wish you and your son the best and hope this helped.
Thank you.
Jayne Owens
Hi, I have osteoarthritis, brought on by tamoxifen which I have been taking for 4 years now, a recent cat scan has shown some abnormal bone thickening and so a bone scan is being done next week....obviously I am incredibly worried about it all = I'm wondering, could OA cause the bone to behave abnornally and thicken?
Jane Bertin
Yes, it could be that. According to the University of Washington, osteoarthritis is the result of higher bone density, which can also be reflected in bony growths.
Jayne Owens
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I will hope and pray it is related to arthritic conditions rather than cancer. Thank you again.

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Subchondral sclerosis - Symptoms and Treatment