Arthritis literally means “inflammation of a joint. A joint is where the ends of two or more bones meet. A smooth tissue of cartilage covers the ends of bones in a joint. Cartilage cushions the bone and allows the joint to move easily without the friction that would come with bone-on-bone contact.
There are two major categories of arthritis.
- OSTEOARTHRITIS is caused by wear and tear on the articular cartilage through the natural aging process, constant use, or trauma. The cartilage covering the bone ends wears away and bone rubs against bone causing pain and swelling.
- RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS affects many parts of the body, but mainly the joints. The joint lining swells, invading surrounding tissues. Swelling, pain, and stiffness usually develop, even when the joint is not used.
If suffering with any of the following symptoms, see an orthopedic physician for diagnosis and treatment. Symptoms include:
- Weakness in the muscles
- Tenderness to touch
- Limited ability to move the joint
- A grating feeling or sound (crepitus) with movement
- Pain when pressure is placed on the joint or the joint is moved
- Signs that other joints are painful or swollen (an indication of rheumatoid arthritis)
Dr. David Hassinger, a certified orthopedic surgeon and Founder and CEO of Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC), explains diagnosis and treatment for arthritis: “As an orthopedic physician, I would recommend anti-inflammatory medications or injections to help relieve pain and inflammation, but only after a thorough examination, taking into account the type of arthritis, the severity, X-rays and other imaging, laboratory tests, and the patient’s general physical health. Surgery for arthritis is only performed when nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve pain and other symptoms.”