Did you know that more than 25 million Americans are affected by some form of joint arthritis? With such staggering statistics, it is almost surprising how few of those who suffer from the disorder really understand what is going on. If you or someone you love suffers from arthritis, now is the time to get the facts from the orthopaedic experts at Rothman Institute. Empowered by this knowledge, you can better understand the condition as well as potential treatments.
What is Joint Arthritis?
At its most basic, joint arthritis refers to painful inflammation (swelling) or stiffness in the joints. The most common form of this condition is osteoarthritis, which is also sometimes called wear-and-tear arthritis. This degenerative joint disorder is considered one of the ten most disabling diseases in developed countries. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the involved bones begins to break down. Without cartilage protecting these bones, they may rub together with each movement of the joint, resulting in swelling, pain, and eventually loss of mobility in the joint. Bone spurs may also result, as well as weakening and stiffening of the surrounding ligaments and muscles.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another common cause of joint arthritis. In these cases, the lining of multiple joints will systematically swell. Over time, this consistent inflammation can invade and destroy the cartilage and bone, creating similar symptoms and effects to osteoarthritis.
How is Arthritis Treated?
Fortunately, there are many different treatments available to help with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Although some cases eventually need surgical treatment, most will begin with nonsurgical options. These treatments include:
Depending upon the patient’s age, overall health, and lifestyle, a combination of these treatment options may be used.
However, in other cases, surgical treatment may be the best approach. This step usually comes after the nonsurgical approaches have been exhausted to no avail. Joint replacement surgery is often very effective because it replaces the arthritic bones with plastic and metal prostheses. The resulting artificial joint typically allows the patient to regain pain free motion after recovery.
Where Can I Find the Best Treatment?
Whether you believe you need joint replacement surgery or are just beginning to look for treatment options for joint arthritis, turn to the orthopaedic specialists at Rothman Institute. No matter what joint or joints are affected, our team includes specialists able to design the best possible approach to fit your situation. For more information, contact us today.