The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Arthritis is a painful joint condition that affects a reported 32.9 million American adults. Though it commonly occurs in adults however, children can also be affected.
Arthritis can occur in an injured or diseased joint. A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. The bone ends of a joint are covered with cartilage, a smooth material that cushions the bone and allows the joint to move smoothly without pain.
Though there are more than a hundred different types of arthritis, the two most common types are called osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is found in the joints of older people and in injured or overused joints of younger individuals. It is commonly found in the knee, hips, and spine. In this type of arthritis, the cartilage covering the joint begins to wear away. Occasionally, bone growths, called “spurs”, can develop in the joint. The resulting inflammation in the joint causes pain and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis, another common form of arthritis, is a long lasting disease in which the joint lining swells. This swelling invades surrounding tissues and causes chemical substances to attack and destroy the joint surface. Though rheumatoid arthritis is commonly found in the hands and feet, it can also occur in the knees, hips, and elbows. Swelling, pain, and stiffness are present even when the joint is not used. Though rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone, more than seventy percent of those with this disease are above thirty.
Arthritis can be easily treated. Consult your physician for more information!
The main approach to treating arthritis centers on pain relief, increased motion, and increased strength. Many over-the-counter medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can be used to control pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Prescription medications are also available if over-the-counter medications are not effective.
People with arthritic joints can use canes, crutches, and walkers to help relieve the stress placed on arthritic joints. Exercising and physical therapy can also be helpful in decreasing stiffness and in strengthening muscles around the joints. If these methods of treatment are not successful, surgery is recommended. The type of surgery depends on the extent of arthritis in the joints, its type, and the physical condition of the patient. Surgical procedures include removal of the diseased or damaged joint lining, realignment of the joints, total joint replacement, and fusion of the bone ends of a joint to prevent joint motion and relieve joint pain.
Though there is no present cure for arthritis, researchers continue to make progress in finding the underlying causes for the major types of arthritis. Still, people with arthritis can continue to perform normal activities. Various exercise programs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and weight reduction programs for obese people are ways to reduce pain, stiffness, and improve function. In persons with severe cases of arthritis, orthopedic surgery can often provide dramatic pain relief and restore lost joint function. A total joint replacement, for example, can usually enable a person with severe arthritis in the hip or the knee to walk around without pain or stiffness. Consult your orthopedic doctor if you are having symptoms typical of arthritis.
Shaheer Yousaf, M.D., FACS