3 Mar 2011
As already stated, osteoarthritis is localized and will not travel or spread. But it is often started by a previous injury, or injuries, for example, a bad fall or several unrelated events. This injury (or injuries) might have happened many years ago, perhaps in one's childhood or teen years, only to develop into osteoarthritis in early, mid or late adulthood.
It is possible to be in an accident, or in several accidents, where you hurt more than one part of your body, resulting in osteoarthritis in more than one joint. This was my situation. Osteoarthritis first showed up in my knees, from growing up on the back of a horse (I'm in need of surgery to replace both knees). I started riding when I was 6, and rode nearly every day for my entire life (I'm in my 50's now), and it is assumed that this was the cause of my initial arthritis.
As a teen, I played a lot of softball, and was hit in the side of my face. Now I have osteoarthritis in both jaw joints.
Then I had a nasty fall in my early 30's, which has resulted in some osteoarthritis in my elbows, wrists, hips and back. Of course, having two bad knees puts additional strain on my hips as well. I'm told that the wear-and-tear on my hips from my knees would eventually cause some arthritis to develop there if I don't have knee surgery, but the fall guaranteed that it would occur.
If you have osteoarthritis diagnosed in one joint, but experience the same type of pain in other joints, don't hesitate to have them x-rayed as well. If the second bout of arthritis hasn't progressed as far as the first, it might not show up right away. (That happened to me, but eventually it showed up on x-ray quite clearly.)
But don't assume that the original bout of osteoarthritis has spread, because osteoarthritis definitely does not spread from joint to joint.
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