Osteoarthritis is not considered a genetic disease. However, genetic disorders that affect the cartilage and joints may cause osteoarthritis. Therefore, some forms of OA may be a result of genetic diseases that lead to the degeneration of cartilage. One of these diseases is known as Familial Osteochondritis Dissecans (FOD). Characteristics of this disease involve areas of bone damage caused by the detachment of cartilage. Sufferers of FOD develop multiple lesions that affect several joints, primarily in the knees, elbows, hips, and ankles. These lesions are known to cause severe amounts of pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints. FOD typically causes osteoarthritis at an early age. Sometimes the feeling is described as a “catching” or “locking” of the joint during movement. A cousin of FOD is Sporadic Osteochondritis Dissecans. Sporadic osteochondritis is more common and is most often the result of trauma or injury. FOD is rare, while sporadic osteochondritis dissecans affects roughly 29 out of 100,000 individuals (7). In this condition, which is typically found in the knee area, there is only a single lesion in the joint. There are other genetic joint disorders that can lead to OA, but the ones that affect the body’s cartilage are the most likely to lead to it. If your doctor is aware of your osteoarthritis, chances are they have performed an examination of your medical history (and your family’s) to determine if a genetic disorder is the cause.
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- National Institute of Health, Famillial Osteochondritis Dissecans, Lister Hill National Center for biomedical Communications, July 2015, Department of Health & Human Services USA.gov