Osteoarthritis




Every AKU patient will experience joint pain at some point in the lives. Typically, pain starts in the back when patients reach their 30s. Pain usually spreads into the other major joints, including the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows and feet. Patients can take pain relief medications to manage the pain, and most will eventually require surgery to replace joints once they become seriously damaged. 

AKU patients in their 30’s, often start to notice joint pain – particularly in their back or spine. Homogentisic acid (HGA) builds up in the connective tissue of the body (such as the bone, cartilage and the skin) in a process called ochronosis.

HGA attacks the bones and cartilage, turning them black and brittle over time. Joints become less able to cope with activities which put them under strain, with the large weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, shoulders, hips and the spine, the worst-affected.

Many will have surgery to replace black and brittle joints, and sometimes patients end up wheelchair-bound. In general, patients start complaining of back pain in their 30s, and knee pain in their 40s. However, the onset of osteoarthritis can vary greatly from one patient to the next. Hip and shoulder pain often occurs later by their 50s.

Many people have at least one joint replaced by the time they reach 55. It is common for AKU patients to have more than one joint replacement, many having between five and 10 joint replacements in their lifetime.1


Published: 24.07.16 Next Review Date: 24.07.19





AKU Twitter

AKU Blog

DevelopAKUre - A History
02-Aug-2019

Today's blog is written by Nick Sireau the Chair and CEO of the AKU Society, It was in.. ...more

SONIA 2 and DevelopAKUre - Results
23-Jul-2019

We are delighted to announce that all the data from the SONIA 2 clin.. ...more

Sociological Study on Treatment for AKU in the UK
19-Jul-2019

My name is Alev Sen. I’m the main researcher on a study of treatment for AKU in UK hea.. ...more

Other Ways to Give to the AKU Society
04-Jul-2019

In this week’s blog, we explain how you can donate to the AKU Society through mobile g.. ...more

Stand Up To AKU Comedy Night - Liverpool 2019
20-Jun-2019

Our ‘Stand Up to AKU’ comedy night was on Sunday the 9th of June at the Hot Wate.. ...more