Definition of Subchondral Bone: What Role Does It Play in Osteoarthritis?

It is defined as the bone tissue located just below the cartilage in a joint.

Think of it as the scaffolding configuring and holding the cartilage in place so the joint can function correctly.

Previous scientific speculations indicate that cartilage is the leading cause of Osteoarthritis, but current research shows that subchondral bone is an essential factor in this problem.

What important role does subchondral bone play in the development of Osteoarthritis?

Subchondral bone undergoes a significant change in mineral density immediately before the onset of Osteoarthritis. An increase in blood flow and other factors such as thickened bone tissue before the cartilage begins to degenerate and therefore wear out.

The subchondral bone also produces growth proteins and inflammatory agents called cytokines which create negative changes in the cartilage and cause inflammation in the joint.

In some the cases, complications such as a subchondral bone cyst or a fluid sac attached to the joint can form a thickening in the bone, an inflammation, and a possible cyst, which can increase the fluid pressure in the joint, which is mainly responsible for the pain associated with Osteoarthritis.

What do these findings mean or do in the treatment of Osteoarthritis?

Because the subchondral bone undergoes a predictable and observable change before the onset of Osteoarthritis, monitoring of the tissues through radiographs or magnetic resonance imaging can lead to an earlier diagnosis because otherwise, it can it is impossible to detect it.


This, in turn, leads to a previous medical intervention, which would be very useful for the prevention of degeneration, in addition to slowing down the onset of an entire illness.

Osteoarthritis is closely linked to the subchondral bone since this is the beginning of the development and progress of this disease, being the culprit of some triggering aspects of this condition.

In addition, close monitoring of the subchondral bone will help patients have an early diagnosis as it can free them from possible years of suffering.