Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases. The basic definition of arthritis is inflammation of the joints. At Pinehurst Surgical, we deal primarily with a particular type of arthritis, known colloquially as “wear and tear arthritis” — osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis usually affects patients in their older years and can be a result of repetitive use, such as from certain sports, or just from the day in and day out use over the years. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. While it can occur in most of the body’s joints, it is most common in the weight-bearing joints: the hips, knees, and spine. Osteoarthritis doesn’t usually affect other joints unless there was a traumatic injury, excessive stress on the joint, or a problem with the cartilage in the joint. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse as wear and tear continues with additional passing years.
What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Symptoms develop slowly with time. These are the common symptoms:
- Pain after activity involving the joint
- Stiffness following periods of inactivity
- Joint swelling
- Loss of flexibility
- Grating sensation or clicking sound when joint is used
In addition to a thorough physical exam and referencing of the patient’s family history, Dr. Moore will often include these diagnostic tests:
- Blood tests
- Analysis of joint fluids
In these situations, Dr. Moore will try a variety of treatment methods before we even consider any replacement surgery on the knees or hips. The goal of these treatments is to relieve pain, increase mobility, and restore quality of life. Short of surgery, these are the treatments we use:
- Weight loss for obese patients
- Exercise to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
- Medications (anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Creams or gels with ingredients such as capsaicin
- Joint injections such as cortisone
- Assistive devices such as orthotics, canes, or braces
Cortisone is a steroid that when injected directly into the joint can provide effective anti-inflammatory relief, which leads to pain relief. Cortisone’s effects can last from a few weeks up to a few months.
If the above treatments don’t seem to provide relief, the next step is joint replacement. Dr. Moore is an expert with total knee and hip replacements.
If you’re suffering with any of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, call the team at Pinehurst Surgical, (910) 295-0224, and let’s get you back to moving without pain.