MOA Blog

What is Arthritis? Symptoms, Treatments and Prevention

Posted by Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates

Find me on:

Jun 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases to affect people, and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. More than 50 million adults and 300,00 children have some form of arthritis.

Learn more about what arthritis is, what the most common types are and treatment and management tips.


WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?

What is Arthritis

 

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints that can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, which can worsen as a person gets older. Individuals of all ages, sex and races can get arthritis, even children.

Arthritis can affect many parts of the body including:

  • ankles
  • back
  • elbows
  • hips
  • knees
  • shoulders
  • hands

Some types of arthritis can also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, joints and skin.


There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, more formally known as joint pain or joint arthritis.

Types of arthritis include:

  • degenerative arthritis
  • inflammatory arthritis
  • infectious arthritis
  • post traumatic arthritis
  • metabolic arthritis

The most common type of arthritis, which affects 3 million Americans, is osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis.

 

TYPES OF ARTHRITIS

Degenerative Arthritis (Osteoarthritis)

This is commonly referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis and is the most common form of arthritis. This type of arthritis is a gradual process that occurs over a prolonged period of time. During this process, the articular cartilage (cushioning on the end of the bones) slowly wears away. As the articular cartilage wears away the bone ends come in contact with each other and begin to cause pain.

This is typically referred to as bone on bone arthritis. This leads to pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased range of motion in the joint. Often times patients will feel grinding in the joint due to the rough bone surfaces rubbing together.

Factors that contribute to osteoarthritis are excess weight, family history, age and previous activity.

Unfortunately, degenerative arthritis cannot be cured, but it can be treated.

Treatment options include medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modification, ambulatory assistive devices, home exercise program, dieting and injection therapy.

When these conservative measures fail to relieve symptoms, surgery may be warranted.


Inflammatory Arthritis

The body creates internal inflammation to fight off infections and other diseases; however, it sometimes can attack our own joints by mistake. These attacks can cause joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of an individual's body.

Examples of inflammatory arthritis are rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis develops as the body’s immune system attacks our own tissue and joints. It can affect joint linings and cause pain and swelling. Over a long course of time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity.

Psoriatic arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness and swelling. People who have this could feel stiff in the morning. Unfortunately, even mild cases psoriasis could have arthritis. Other common symptoms are skin rash, fatigue, itching and tendinitis.

Treatments for rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are similar to osteoarthritis. Treatment options include medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modification, ambulatory assistive devices, home exercise program, dieting and injection therapy.

When these conservative measures fail to relieve symptoms, surgery may be warranted.


Infectious Arthritis

Infectious arthritis occurs when a bacterium, virus or fungus enters the joint or triggers inflammation. The most important goal is to eradicate the infection. After the infection has been treated, patients can go on the develop arthritis in the joint. Once there is confirmation that the infection has cleared treatment for arthritis can behind.

Treatment options include medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modification, ambulatory assistive devices, home exercise program, dieting and injection therapy.

When these conservative measures fail to relieve symptoms, surgery may be warranted.


Post-Traumatic Arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis occurs after there has been an injury to the joint. Due to the previous trauma, the joint surfaces can be affected and develop significant arthritis. Again, treatments options would begin with conservative treatments including non-steroidal inflammatory medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modifications, home exercise programs, dieting and injections therapy.


Metabolic Arthritis (Gout)

As the body breaks down purines (a substance found in human cells and some food), uric acid is formed.

Foods that purine is found in include bacon, liver, beer, red meat, sardines, died beans and oatmeal.

Metabolic arthritis, otherwise known as gout, is when an individual builds too much uric acid up or can’t get rid of it fast enough, which then produces needle-like crystals in the joints.

This results in quick pings of joint pain and inflammation.

Treatment options include medications, physical therapy, bracing, activity modification, ambulatory assistive devices, home exercise program, dieting and injection therapy.


COMMON SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS

From mild to moderate and unfortunately severe, arthritis symptoms can come and go.

Common symptoms include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • decreased range of motion

TREATMENTS FOR ARTHRITIS & MANAGEMENT TIPS

For patients who have some form of arthritis, we aim to control their pain, decrease joint damage and improve the quality of their lives.

Treatment for arthritis can include medication, injections, physical therapy, braces, weight loss and surgery.

Managing the symptoms are important, too:

  1. Keep track of your symptoms, medication and pain level with your healthcare provider.
  2. Stay active.
  3. Keep your weight under control.
  4. Keep a good diet.
  5. Keep a positive attitude.

ARTHRITIS PREVENTION

True prevention may seem impossible to many healthcare professionals; however, there are many steps that you can take to reduce the risk arthritis, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Not smoking or stop smoking.
  • Decreasing your sugar, alcohol and purine intake.
  • Drinking more water.
  • Preventing sports injuries. For example, properly warm up and cool down before beginning.

If you currently are feeling pain in your joints, there are many treatment options available to you. You owe it to yourself and your family to get your joints checked out.


JOINT PRESERVATION | MOUNTAINSTATE ORTHOPEDIC ASSOCIATES

At Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, we encourage patients to address their joint pain early and avoid waiting until a replacement is the only option.

Joint Preservation is a concept of restoring normal and pain-free function to the knee, hip, shoulder and ankle joints. It is achieved through the use of multi-modality treatment options that can include activity modification, physical therapy, medications, injections and surgery.

Our surgeons are utilizing the most modern and innovative techniques in orthopedic surgery, including arthroscopy, non-operative modalities and rehabilitation.

Our goal is to return patients to an active lifestyle by preserving the joint to ensure pain relief and return of function.

Give us a call at 304-599-0720, or click below to schedule an appointment:

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT

Topics: joint preservation