By: Dr. Arup Bhadra
What is the second most common health problem after the common cold? Arthritis. About 54 million adults are diagnosed with a type of arthritis*, the inflammation of one or more of your joints.
Arthritis can occur in any joint in the body, but most often, it develops in weight-bearing joints like knee and hip. Because pain, swelling, and stiffness are the primary symptoms, arthritis in these joints can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. It is a major cause of lost work time and a serious disability for many people.
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, but the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Let’s dive into what an arthritis diagnosis means.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee and or hip. It is a degenerative, “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee/hip joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone and produce painful bone spurs. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.
(Left) Healthy Knee joint and (Right) worn cartilage and arthritic knee joint
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that attacks multiple joints throughout the body, including the knee joint. It is symmetrical, meaning that it usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system attacks its own tissues. The immune system damages normal tissue (such as cartilage and ligaments) and softens the bone.
Posttraumatic arthritis is a form of arthritis that develops after an injury to the knee or hip. For example, a broken bone may damage the joint surface and lead to arthritis years after the injury.
Treatment for Arthritis
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to help manage pain and keep people staying active. Non-surgical treatments include adjustment of lifestyle and activities, pain management, cortisone and/or viscous supplement injection. Should a joint replacement be necessary, there are many advances to ensure successful outcomes. Surgical treatment options include traditional and robotic-assisted knee and hip replacement utilizing the latest minimally invasive techniques.
If you are suffering the symptoms of arthritis, contact us today for a consultation with one of our providers to ensure the right diagnosis and treatment to help you.
*Source: Arthritis Foundation