Chu CR et al. – This review focuses on recent advances in imaging and biochemical biomarkers suitable for characterization of the pre–osteoarthritic joint as well as implications for development of effective early treatment strategies.
- Osteoarthritis is a highly prevalent and disabling disease affecting an increasingly large swathe of the world population.
- While clinical osteoarthritis is a late stage condition for which opportunities for disease modification are limited, osteoarthritis typically progresses to a symptomatic clinically identifiable state over several decades offering a long window of opportunity for altering its course.
- The etiology of osteoarthritis is multi–factorial with stronger associations to highly modifiable risk factors of mechanical overload and trauma than to genetic predisposition.
- As such, characterization of early pre–osteoarthritic disease states will be critical towards supporting a paradigm shift from modification of traditional clinical osteoarthritis to early diagnosis and early treatment of joint injury and degeneration to prevent or delay the onset of osteoarthritis.
- Joint trauma accelerates development of clinical osteoarthritis and provides a unique opportunity for evaluation of pre–osteoarthritic conditions from its earliest stages.