Arthritis

Translated, arthritis means inflammation of joints. The symptoms associated with arthritis, often include pain and difficulty in moving joints (stiffness). Unfortunately arthritis is extremely common. More than 9 million people, in the United Kingdom suffer from it. There are many forms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms, which cause joint pain.

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Osteoarthritis

A variety of causes -hereditary, developmental, metabolic, and mechanical deficits- may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage. When bone surfaces become less well protected by cartilage, bone may be exposed and damaged. Cartilage is a material that cushions the end of bones and allows joints to move smoothly. As cartilage of a joint wears down, this movement becomes painful or limited.
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OA can be a normal part of aging that can affect all parts of the body. However, it usually affects the knees, hips, lower back, neck, and fingers.
The signs and symptoms of OA, depending on the joints involved, include:

  • Pain in joint
  • Joint swelling
  • Joint may be warm to touch
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle weakness and joint instability
  • Pain when walking
  • Difficulty gripping objects
  • Difficulty dressing or combing hair
  • Difficulty sitting or bending over
Rheumatoid Arthritis

In RA, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, causing joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that can be severe. The condition can result in permanent joint damage and deformity.

  • Pain
  • Swelling, inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Warmth around the knee joints
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fatigue

Unfortunately, there is no cure for rheumatic disease. The goal of treatment is to limit pain and inflammation, while ensuring optimal joint Function.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Early, nonsurgical treatment can slow progression of osteoarthritis, increase motion, and improve strength. Most treatment programs combine lifestyle modifications, medication, and physical therapy.

Surgical Treatment

If early treatments do not stop the pain or if they lose their effectiveness, surgery may be considered. The decision to treat surgically depends upon the age and activity level of the patient, the condition of the affected joint, and the extent to which osteoarthritis has progressed.
Repair: surgery to repair a damaged joint may include removing debris in the joint (Arthroscopy), fusing bones, or correcting a bone deformity (Osteotomy).

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Replace: if a joint is too damaged for repair, it may need to be replaced with an artificial joint (Arthroplasty).
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There are a couple of reasons to choose surgery for rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Relieving pain: Pain relief is the most consistent benefit of orthopedic surgery.
  • Improving function: Repair or replacement of a weakened joint may help you regain some of your previous activity level.

Orthopedic surgeons will discuss the surgical options available to you. They will advise you on the potential pros and cons of having or delaying surgery, taking into account your age, health and level of activity.

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