Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis - Joint Pain - Ozark Orthopaedics - Arkansas

Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is a common condition in the United States. In fact, about 54 million American adults or 23% of the adult population has it.

What is arthritis and what causes it?
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis, each of which has different causes and symptoms. Of all these types, osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are the most common.

About Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide.

This type of arthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects and cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time. Cartilage is a firm, flexible connective tissue that allows frictionless joint motion. Once it tears down completely, the bone will rub on bone.

What causes it?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which means it worsens over time. There are certain factors that can increase one’s risk of having OA.

These include older age, being female, a history of joint injuries, obesity, and a family history of osteoarthritis.

What are its symptoms?
Osteoarthritis develops slowly over time. Some of the most common symptoms of the disease include joint pain during or after movement, joint stiffness which is most noticeable after being inactive (i.e. upon waking up), grating sensation when using or moving the affected joint, and soft tissue inflammation around the affected joint.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, which means one’s immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells by mistake. This leads to inflammation in the affected parts of the body.

RA can affect multiple joints at once. It usually affects the joints of the wrist, hands, and knees.

What causes it?
The exact cause of RA is unknown although there are factors that experts believe to contribute to the development of RA. These include age (RA mostly affects adults in their 60s), being female (RA affects more women than men), smoking or being exposed to secondary smoke, obesity, and history of live births.

What are its symptoms?
The most common signs and symptoms of RA include pain in the affected joint or joints, joint stiffness, weight loss, joint tenderness and swelling, fatigue, fever, and weakness.

Treating Arthritis
The goal of arthritis treatment is to improve the pain and its other symptoms.

The most common treatment options for arthritis are the following:

  • Drug Therapy
    There are different types of medications for treating arthritis. These include painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.
  • Physical Therapy
    For some types of arthritis, physical therapy could help. It helps improve one’s range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding the affected joints.
  • Surgery
    Often considered as the last resort (i.e. when conservative measures aren’t working), surgical procedures such as joint repair, joint replacement, or joint fusion may be recommended.

Ozark Orthopaedics has specialists who can assess your joint condition. If you are confirmed to have arthritis, we will recommend the most suitable treatment option for you.

To request an appointment, you may call us at (479) 521-2752.