Orthopedic Specialists in Huntsville & Athens, AL
This particular form of arthritis is completely natural and occurs gradually as the joints begin to wear down over time.
As people age, the cartilage between their joints will deteriorate and fray, which can leave the joints vulnerable to bone-on-bone contact. This type of motion can be very painful and can limit the individual’s mobility, thus qualifying it as a type of arthritis.
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis
While osteoarthritis is primarily caused by the aging process, there are other contributors that can lead to its development, such as:
- Prior injury to the joint
- A family history of osteoarthritis
Usually, individuals with osteoarthritis will experience significant pain as the bones of the joint move against one another. This pain is often worse in the mornings when the joints are stiff from lack of motion.
Other common symptoms of osteoarthritis include swelling of the joint, clicking or cracking noises coming from the joint, and inhibited the mobility of the joint.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis
There is no way to cure osteoarthritis, but there are ways in which patients can relieve the troublesome symptoms associated with the condition. These methods include both surgical and non-surgical options.
If an individual wishes to avoid or delay surgery to treat their osteoarthritis, it is best to try:
- Lifestyle changes: by avoiding high-impact activities and maintaining a healthy weight, you can relieve the strain that is put on your joints in everyday life.
- Medications: simple over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines can help to greatly reduce swelling and pain within the joints. Prescribed medications, such as corticosteroids, may also be advised by your doctor if OTC medicines are ineffective.
- Physical therapy: working with a professional to improve joint mobility while also preserving the remaining cartilage can provide substantial benefits to some patients.
In the event that nonsurgical options are unsuccessful, surgery may be the next consideration for an individual with severe osteoarthritis pain. The age and activity level of the patient will be the biggest determinants of surgical intervention. Typical osteoarthritis surgeries include:
- Joint fusion
- Joint replacement