Recurring pain, swelling or warm feeling in your hand, elbow, knees or other joints might be more than soreness from overuse. It might be arthritis. Once thought of as an affliction to the elderly only, arthritis can affect people of all ages, genders, and races. We’ll navigate you through the ins and outs of this painful joint condition and how the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio assists patients from prevention to diagnosis and offers the best available treatment options personalized to your needs.
In this article, you will learn…
Arthritis is a common condition affecting millions of people around the world. It’s known as inflammation of one or more joints that causes various symptoms, including pain, stiffness and limited range of motion. Various types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout.
It is a chronic, progressive disease with no cure, but proper management can control the symptoms. It is crucial to work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan that considers the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, and overall health.
Causes vary depending on the type of arthritis you’re dealing with. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where your body attacks the lining of the joints. Psoriatic arthritis occurs in people with psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the skin. A buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints is the root cause of gout.
Symptoms vary depending on which type of arthritis you have and which joints are most affected. The most common symptoms of arthritis are:
Arthritis can affect people of all ages, genders, and races. However, certain factors can increase the risk of developing arthritis, such as age, gender, genetics, obesity, joint injury, overuse, certain infections and autoimmune disorders.
Diagnosis of arthritis typically involves a combination of a physical examination, medical history and diagnostic tests. These can include X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), blood tests, joint fluid analysis or synovial biopsy.
Your diagnosis begins with a physical examination of the affected joint(s) to check for signs of inflammation, such as swelling, warmth, and tenderness. You will also be assessed for the range of motion in the joint(s) and any signs of deformity or instability.
Next, your doctor will gather information about your medical history and symptoms, including when they started, how severe they are, and how they affect daily activities. You’ll want to be prepared with knowledge of your family history of arthritis and any previous joint injuries.
You may now have an X-ray, which can show signs of osteoarthritis, such as bone spurs, loss of cartilage, and joint space narrowing. And you may require an MRI, which can provide detailed images of the soft tissue in the joint, including cartilage and ligaments.
Blood tests can detect inflammation and rule out rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and gout. A joint fluid analysis may also be performed, where a fluid sample is taken from the affected joint and analyzed for signs of inflammation and infection. Additionally, a synovial biopsy, where a small piece of the synovium (the lining of the joint) is taken and analyzed for signs of inflammation, could be suggested for further diagnosis.
While there’s no 100% cure for arthritis, several treatment options are available to help manage symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Work with an arthritis specialist to develop an individualized treatment plan that considers the type of arthritis, severity of symptoms, and overall health.
Several methods for relieving the symptoms of arthritis are:
Surgery is an option for some people with arthritis, particularly those with severe symptoms that have not responded to other treatment options. The type of surgery and the joint that is affected will determine the type of procedure.
Joint replacement surgery is a common procedure for people with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee. In this procedure, the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint (prosthesis). This can significantly reduce pain and improve joint function.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where your doctor inserts a tiny camera alongside surgical instruments into the joint through small incisions. This procedure can be used to repair or remove damaged tissue, such as cartilage or bone.
Synovectomy is a surgery to remove the synovial membrane, the joint’s lining that can become inflamed in certain kinds of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis. Joint fusion is a surgical procedure that combines two or more bones to prevent joint movement and relieve pain.
Surgery isn’t the right choice for everyone and is considered a last-resort option after other nonsurgical treatments have failed. It’s important to discuss all of this with your arthritis specialist and clearly understand the surgery’s risks, benefits and expected outcome before making a decision.
Arthritis can cause various complications, depending on the type and severity of your disease. Potential complications include:
While there’s no surefire way to prevent arthritis, you can take some measures to avoid developing the condition or to slow down its progression if you already have it. Not all arthritis can be prevented, and genetic factors or an unknown cause may cause some cases. However, taking care of yourself can help reduce the risk of developing the condition or slow its progression if you already have it.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of arthritis, it is vital to see a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
If arthritis is left untreated, it can lead to several complications. The joint pain and stiffness can become more severe over time, making it difficult to perform everyday activities. This can lead to loss of mobility and an overall decline in physical function.
Untreated arthritis can also cause damage to the joints, leading to deformities and instability. This can cause chronic pain and a decrease in quality of life. In addition, untreated arthritis can lead to a loss of muscle strength and mass, further limiting mobility and increasing the risk of falls and injuries.
Arthritis can also affect mental health, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety. Social isolation and a lack of physical activity can also lead to a decline in overall health and well-being. In its advanced stages, arthritis can lead to permanent joint damage, requiring joint replacement surgery or other invasive procedures. Seek treatment for arthritis as soon as symptoms appear to manage the condition and prevent complications from developing.
At the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, our experienced physicians offer patients an early diagnosis and a personalized arthritis treatment plan to help them get back to living a normal, pain-free life. We offer a comprehensive range of arthritis treatment options, from nonsurgical therapies to surgical joint replacements. We tailor each treatment plan to the individual patient’s personal goals.
Contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio office closest to you to schedule an appointment for your consultation and to get started feeling better and living a fuller life!