Osteoarthritis, which causes degeneration of the cartilage around the bones, is a type of arthritis that affects over 27 million people in the United State alone. It can occur in any joint, but most commonly occurs in the knee, hip, hand and back. If left untreated, osteoarthritis progresses more rapidly and leads to complete deterioration of the cartilage. The resulting friction between bones causes pain and discomfort.
Some of the symptoms associated with the condition include:
- Painful or swollen joints
- Stiff joints, especially in the morning when you first get out of bed
- Decreased mobility
- Cracking or grinding noises when flexing joints
An exact cause for osteoarthritis has not yet been determined. However, certain risk factors have been associated with the condition. Some of these include:
Age – As people get older, the risk of osteoarthritis increases.
Gender – Women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men.
Injury – Bone and joint injuries increase the chances of osteoarthritis developing.
Health Conditions – Osteoarthritis is more likely to occur in people with diabetes, hypothyroidism, and other health conditions.
Weight – Obesity adds extra pressure on the joints, which can lead to osteoarthritis.
During a physical exam, your doctor will decide whether further testing is necessary. Tests may include x-rays, MRI and blood work. Your doctor will check for inflammation and damage of the bones and joints.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will discuss a treatment plan with you. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are ways to manage the condition and prevent it from worsening.
Medication – NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen help with inflammation and pain. In severe cases, narcotic drugs and cortisone injections are sometimes recommended by doctors.
Therapy – A physical therapist can help create an exercise routine just for you to strengthen your joints and relieve some of the pain. Special devices, such as a brace or shoe pads, can also help manage discomfort.
Surgery – Bone realignment and joint replacement are two of the surgical procedures used to treat osteoarthritis. In bone realignment surgery, the bone is realigned so that pressure is reduced from the affected area. Joint replacement, on the other hand, involves replacing the damaged joints with prostheses made of metal or plastic material.
To find out more about osteoarthritis treatment options, visit St Pete Hip and Knee at http://stpetehipandknee.com/