Arthritis. We all either have or know people who have “arthritis”, but did you know that there are actually more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions? The term comes from arthr- which means joint, and itis- which means inflammation. It has become an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease and can affect literally everyone, young or old, man, woman, or child. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.
The 2 most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis which usually occurs with age and affects the fingers, knees, and hips; and rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disorder that often affects the hands and feet.
Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage – the cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away. Bone rubs against bone which causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Over time, the pain will become chronic and the strength of the joint will begin to decline. Risk factors can include excess weight, family history, age, or previous injury. Early symptoms can be managed with balancing activity and rest of the joint, exercising on a regular basis to help strengthen the joint, using hot and/or cold therapies, OTC anti-inflammatory medications, using assistive devices, and maintaining a healthy weight.
When the pain and difficulties of osteoarthritis in your joints begin to affect your quality of life, visiting an orthopedic surgeon is the next step to be evaluated, diagnosed, and discuss options for treatment with your physician. These treatment options may include prescription anti-inflammatory medication or possible injections of medication to help calm down symptoms. Ultimately, if these treatments become ineffective, a joint replacement may be recommended.
Joint replacements have progressed immensely in this technology driven world we currently live in, both in the types of replacements and also the procedures for replacement. This has also lead to new recovery techniques and processes allowing for tremendous outcomes in the majority of patients. If you are having symptoms of arthritis or possible joint replacement surgery, we would be happy to do an evaluation, explain your current condition, and offer options for care and treatment.