The Road To Relief For Patients With Arthritis In Joints

Mitchell K. Freedman, DO May 8th, 2015

Are you, or is someone you love, among the 25 million Americans who are affected by a form of joint arthritis? If so, you are probably well aware that arthritis in joints can be a painful, even debilitating experience. The good news is that expert help is available for patients at every stage of their journey with arthritis, from initial diagnosis through treatments like joint replacement for the most extreme cases. At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, you will find specialized doctors, surgeons, and physical therapists to help you at every step of the way.      

Below, discover the ways that these orthopaedic experts can help you or your loved one navigate the road to relief from pain caused by arthritis in joints. 
Patient Education
At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, we belief that patient education is an important first step toward finding relief from this condition. When you can understand your condition, you will be better equipped to work with your doctor on the road to recovery. 
Arthritis in joints refers to the painful inflammation or stiffness in joints, such as the hips or knees. There are several different conditions which can fall within this category. The most common is osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disorder, in which the cartilage in joints simply breaks down over time. Without the protective cushioning provided by cartilage, bone rubs against bone, causing pain and swelling. A second common form of joint arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis, in which cartilage is broken down due to systematic swelling of the cartilage.  Finally, joint arthritis can also result from an injury to the joint which affects the cartilage. 
If you have been suffering from pain, swelling, or stiffness in your joints, and believe it may be due to arthritis, the next step is to talk to a doctor who can consider your symptoms and offer an accurate diagnosis. Common questions she or he may ask include: 
  • Have you experienced an injury to that joint? 

  • Is the pain or swelling worse after some activities, such as resting or activity? 

  • Have your symptoms affected your ability to participate in daily activities? 

  • Is the pain affecting your ability to sleep? 

  • Do you have a family history of arthritis? 

These and other questions will help to give your doctor a more complete picture of the type of joint arthritis you are experiencing. Additionally, she or he will also likely perform a physical exam and x-ray the affected area. 

Once you have a diagnosis, you can begin to talk with your doctor about treatment options available to you. 
Non Surgical Treatment Options
Although there is no known cure for arthritis, there are a number of different treatment options available which can very effectively help patients to manage their condition. Typically, orthopaedic doctors will begin with more conservative, non-operative treatments to help reduce the pain and stiffness caused by joint arthritis. These treatments may include: 
  • Lifestyle modification

  • Vitamin supplements
Prescription medications

  • Braces

  • Physical Therapy
The approach, or combination of multiple approaches, appropriate to each patient can be determine through conversation and examinations with a doctor. Factors that will be considered in this decision often include the patient’s age, overall health, and lifestyle. 

Surgical Treatment Options For Arthritis In Joints
For other cases of arthritis in joints, where the condition is more advanced, non-operative treatments may not be sufficient. Usually, these are cases where the cartilage has been completely worn. When this happens, a surgical approach such as joint replacement surgery can be very effective. This procedure replaces the damaged joint with a prosthetic joint made of plastic and metal. This new joint then offers the patient decreased pain and a return to her or his normal mobility.
Rothman Orthopaedic Institute
Once you understand your condition and the treatment options available to you, one final step is to choose an orthopaedic team to help you on your way. If you live in the Tri-state area, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute offers you a team of local specialists who can provide expert help focused on your unique area of joint arthritis. For more information, or to make an appointment, contact us today at 1.800.321.9999.

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