What You Should Know About Arthritis
If you aren’t moving as fast as you used to and your joints have been a bit painful lately, you may be wondering if you are at the beginning stages of arthritis. Whether it’s knee arthritis or arthritis in your toes, arthritis can cause a lot of pain – and worry. Here are some facts about this very common disease.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis affects the joints, causing them to be swollen and tender. There are two types of arthritis that are most common: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. In osteoarthritis, the joint’s cartilage breaks down, and the ends of the bones start to grind against each other. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s own immune system attacks the joints, causing them to become inflamed and swollen. There are other types of arthritis, but pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, and a decreased range of motion are common symptoms for all types.
What causes arthritis?
Although anyone can get arthritis, those who are female, obese, or older are more at risk. People with a family history of arthritis or a previous injury to the joint are also at increased risk.
How is arthritis treated?
Drugs to treat arthritis vary depending on the type of arthritis you have. They range from over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation and pain to disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers that work to keep the immune system from attacking joints. Corticosteroids, which can be taken orally or injected into the joint, can also help to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Ointments and physical therapy can also help to relieve pain, as can heat or ice therapy and lifestyle modifications such as losing weight, exercising regularly, and using assistive devices when you need them. Other therapies, such as PRP, viscosupplementation, or stem cell therapy, can help. In extreme cases and when all else fails, a surgical procedure such as a hip or knee replacement may be necessary.
If your joints have seemed more creaky than usual lately, Specialty Orthopaedics in Harrison, New York, can help. Diagnosing arthritis early is important – you don’t have to live with joint pain. Call 914-686-0111 today.