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Arthritis

Arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition where the human body gradually degenerates over time, causing pain symptoms. It can be classified into two main categories: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the more common degenerative joint disease that affects nearly all joints of the body.

Gradually, bone, cartilage, muscle, and connective tissues begin to wear down, causing inflammation at a localized area. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s natural defense mechanism attacks the body’s own tissues. This occurs specifically with the synovium, which is a thin membrane, causing the joint to inflame.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

Nonsurgical Treatment

Surgery is not always the best option. In less developed forms of joint arthritis, the following might be explored:

Bracing / Casting

Wearing a brace / splint especially when active will alleviate some pressure on the joint.

Medications

Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can relieve pain. 

Steroid Injections

A corticosteroid will provide relief but there’s a chance the symptoms may come back. 

Physical Therapy

Exercising the muscles involved in the joint will strengthen the system as a whole, placing less stress on any specific point.

Surgical Treatment

In more advanced forms of joint arthritis, uni-compartmental / total joint replacements might be considered. In the case of severe knee arthritis, medial compartment collapse might be evident. In this manner, a uni-compartmental replacement might be considered. However, if the lateral compartment is subsequently being affected, a total joint replacement might be considered the most appropriate procedure for long term benefit.

What Happens Without Treatment?

Without treatment, pain symptoms may gradually lessen overtime. However, in many cases if the injury requires surgical intervention, but is left untreated, the pain symptoms may worsen. If the structure of the anatomical part becomes affected due to the prolonged waiting to have surgery, a more advanced procedure may become necessary.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Reduce Force on Joints

When exercising or running, it is often much easier on the lower extremity joints to do so on a soft surface (e.g. grass, rubberized track). 

Practice safe form with joint movements

When lifting a heavy object or doing squats, bend the knee no more than a safe degree (90 degrees), to prevent damage.

Take Supplements

Arthritis is indiscriminate. Taking Glucosamine chondroitin has proven effective in promoting healthy joint cartilage and spacing.

LOCALES OF ARTHRITIS

Arthritis is most commonly in the major and minor joints of the body. The most common and evident locales of arthritis are the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, ankles, and along the spine, etc.

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Valdosta Orthopedic Associates Clinic and Surgery Center