From learning about the importance of exercising regularly to fully understanding your arthritis medications, the information contained in this section will provide you with insights, information and tips that can be used to help make living with arthritis a little bit more manageable.
Learning to make arthritis part of your life can be difficult. But understanding as much as you can about your particular type of arthritis – and actively working with your arthritis treatment team – are two very effective ways of regaining control over your life.
Try not to let arthritis beat you. How? Arm yourself with as much information as possible. Learn from the experiences of others in similar circumstances. Some things may work for you one day and not the other. That’s why we’ve tried to cover several topics in the “frequently asked questions” section below.
What is arthritis?
The term arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint, but is generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat, and pain.
The cartilage in a joint acts as a padding that absorbs stress. The proportion of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Usually the pain felt in early stages is due to inflammation. In the later stages when the cartilage is worn away, most of the pain comes from the mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing against each other.
What are the different types and causes of arthritis?
Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease are the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is also known as “wear and tear arthritis” since the cartilage simply wears out. When cartilage wears away, bone rubs on bone causing severe pain and disability. The most frequent reason for osteoarthritis is genetic; the durability of each individual's cartilage is based on genetics.
Trauma can also lead to osteoarthritis. A bad fall or blow to the knee can injure the joint. If the injury does not heal properly, extra force may be placed on the joint, which over time can cause the cartilage to wear away.
Inflammatory Arthritis, which causes swelling and inflammation of the joint lining, releases enzymes which soften and eventually destroy the cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, and psoriatic arthritis are diseases that are inflammatory in nature.
What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is caused by the wearing out of the cartilage covering the bone ends in a joint. This may be due to excessive strain over prolonged periods of time, or due to other joint diseases, injury or deformity.
Primary osteoarthritis is commonly associated with ageing and general degeneration of joints.
Secondary osteoarthritis is generally the consequence of another disease or condition, such as repeated trauma or surgery to the affected joint, or abnormal joint structures from birth.
Uric acid crystal build-up is the cause of gout and long-term crystal build-up in the joints may cause deformity.
Some people may have congenital abnormalities of the joints-for example, Perthes’ disease of the hips-that cause early degeneration and subsequently cause osteoarthritis.
What are the predisposing factors to osteoarthritis of the hip?
Some conditions may predispose the hip to osteoarthritis; it tends to affect people as they get older and particularly affects joints that take a lot of stress and strain. Predisposing factors include:
- Growth abnormalities of the hip (such as a shallow socket) may lead to premature arthritis.
- Some childhood hip problems later cause hip arthritis (for example, a type of childhood hip fracture known as a Slipped Epiphysis; also Legg-Perthe’s Disease).
- Inactive lifestyle, which can cause obesity (overweight). Your weight is the single most important link between diet and arthritis; being overweight puts an additional burden on your hips, knees, ankles and feet.
- A previous fracture that involved the hip.
What are the predisposing factors to osteoarthritis of the knee?
Abnormalities of knee joint function resulting from fractures of the knee, torn cartilage and torn ligaments can lead to degeneration, many years after the initial injury. These mechanical abnormalities lead to excessive wear and tear – just like the out-of-balance tire on your care that wears out too soon.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and symptoms vary, depending on the form. They also affect the body differently.
Arthritic symptoms generally include swelling and pain or tenderness in one or more joints for more than two weeks; redness or heat in a joint; limited motion of a joint; early morning stiffness; and skin changes, including rashes.
How can a doctor diagnose arthritis?
What can you do?
What can your doctor do?
What are the treatment options?
Does exercise really help those who have arthritis?
Can special diets treat arthritis?
Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut, also known as Orthopedic Specialists of Connecticut, based in Brookfield, CT and Danbury, CT, provides comprehensive orthopaedic care, sports medicine, joint replacements, and interventional pain management to patients of all ages.
Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut, also known as Orthopedic Specialists of Connecticut, provides orthopedic care including: orthopedic examination, foot surgery, ankle surgery, hand surgery, hip surgery, hip replacement, hip resurfacing, knee surgery, knee replacement, orthopedic oncology, shoulder surgery, elbow surgery, and MAKOplasty.
Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut, also known as Orthopedic Specialists of Connecticut, also provides sports medicine, physical therapy, pain management, interventional pain management, radiology, x-ray, ultrasound, cortisone injection, and PRP injections.
Orthopaedic Specialists of Connecticut, also known as Orthopedic Specialists of Connecticut, treats sprains, fractures, ligament tears, arthritis, musculoskeletal pain, neurological pain, cancer pain, neck pain, and back pain.