Our joints are so important that, when they become diseased and start to lose their normal function, they affect our lives in a profoundly negative way. Any component in a joint can malfunction and cause pain and stiffness. The real problem is that once one part of the joint starts to break down, others tend to follow until a vicious cycle develops. For example, if a ligament is injured, the surrounding muscles have to compensate for the injury. The muscle opposite the injured ligament may have to contract more strongly to take pressure off of the injured side. This increased exertion by the muscle may pull one of the bones slightly to the side, forcing the edges of the two bones to scrape together. This scraping causes inflammation that spreads to the synovium, and so forth.
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