Arthritis affects nearly one-fourth of adults and ranks as one of the top causes of disability. The experienced physicians at Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants specialize in easing arthritis symptoms and slowing down joint damage with nonsurgical treatments. When arthritis reaches an advanced stage, they restore your mobility with joint replacement surgery. To get expert care for joint pain and stiffness, call the office in Merrillville, Indiana, or book an appointment online today.
Arthritis is a generic name that includes over 100 conditions; they all cause joint inflammation but come from different causes.
For example, osteoarthritis, the most common type, occurs as the cartilage breaks down over years of wear and tear. By comparison, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the synovial tissues lining the joint.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but most often develops in weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, shoulders, and lower back. Everyday activities gradually break down articular cartilage.
Articular cartilage covers the ends of bones, allowing them to glide smoothly inside the joint. As the cartilage wears away, the bones become exposed; they grate against one another every time you use the joint, causing inflammation, bone damage, and bone spurs.
Arthritis causes joint pain and stiffness. As the disease progresses, joint damage increases and the pain worsens and lasts longer. Additionally, your ability to move the joint becomes increasingly limited.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have extensive inflammation that causes joint swelling. Without treatment, ongoing inflammation erodes the bone and causes joint deformities. The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can also affect your skin, eyes, lungs, and other parts of your body.
Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving your symptoms and slowing down the progressive joint damage. Your treatment plan may include:
Following a regular exercise routine goes a long way toward easing your pain, reducing inflammation, and maintaining the joint's mobility. However, you also need to avoid putting excessive stress on the joint. Your physical therapist creates an individualized exercise plan and helps you navigate issues like when you should rest or push through the pain.
Losing weight is important because carrying extra weight significantly increases your risk of developing arthritis and accelerates joint damage once the disease develops. For example, 10 pounds of excess body weight adds 30-60 pounds of force on your knees every time you take a step.
Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants may recommend steroids or hyaluronic acid injections for osteoarthritis. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may need to take disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that put the disease into remission.
Once arthritis reaches an advanced stage, and you have extensive joint damage, your provider recommends surgery to replace the joint.
If you have joint pain and stiffness, call Orthopaedic Surgical Consultants or book an appointment online today.