This is Dr. Salam, I practice at One Care Medical Center, one of the cities International orthopedic hospital in Coimbatore. In this post let us briefly discuss about osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the degenerative joint disease and is a leading cause of disability in people over 50 years of age. It is can be a very debilitating form of arthritis in that it tends to affect the load-bearing joints, especially the hips and knees, that are crucial for normal movement.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage cushioning the joints breaks down and causes the bones to rub together, inducing a change in shape. Osteoarthritis is found most frequently in people over age 50, although it can occur at any age.
It most commonly affects joints in the knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, ankles, and hands. Hips and knees are at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis because they bear a large portion of the body’s weight and are subject to everyday wear and tear.
What are the Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs?
Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Signs
A. Stiffness. A common marker of osteoarthritis is stiffness in the joint that is most pronounced first thing in the morning, or after a prolonged period of inactivity (such as sitting in a car or airplane). The stiffness usually resolves within 30 minutes of light activity, as the joints “warm up” through gentle movement.
B. Pain. Another common symptom is a pain in the joint that worsens during or after too much movement. The pain may be experienced as dull and aching, or sharp and piercing. In the most severe cases of osteoarthritis, patients may also feel pain when the joints are at rest or only moving slightly.
C. Soreness. The joint may feel tender to touch or with slight pressure.
D. Inflexibility. Patients may experience loss of full range of motion in the affected joint.
E. Swelling. The joint may swell due to excess fluid buildup. This type of swelling is clinically referred to as effusion. If the swelling is severe, the joint may also feel warm to touch.
F. Grating or creaking. There might be a sensation of grating or slight grinding when moving the joint, as the surfaces of the articulating points of the joint no longer move smoothly against each other.
G. Bone spurs. Sometimes, bone bumps – which are points of the bone that grows outward as a result of the joint friction and dysfunction – can be felt under the skin. Bone spurs may also be referred to as osteophytes.
H. Deformity. In some types of osteoarthritis, the physical deformity may be noticeable. For example, enlarged finger joints may result from the friction causes bony enlargements of the finger joints, or advanced degeneration of knee cartilage can lead to an outward, or bowlegged, a curvature of the knee.
How is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis of the major joints is most effectively diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and various lab tests including Joint aspiration or arthrocentesis, imaging studies such as X-ray & MRI
How is Osteoarthritis Treated?
The most effective step toward controlling the symptoms of osteoarthritis is obtaining an early diagnosis and starting treatment as soon as possible. Osteoarthritis treatment programs typically include a combination of medication and exercise therapy.
Drug therapy is used to manage physical symptoms, with a focus on relieving pain and slowing the progression of the disease with Analgesics, Topical analgesics, NSAIDs
Physical therapy provides targeted exercises that help maintain the ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking, bathing, and dressing.
it is important to keep up with moderate levels of activity to strengthen the muscles surrounding the damaged joint. Stronger muscles provide greater stability for the joint, which in turn helps reduce stress on the joint.
Steroid injections are often performed especially if the pain symptoms limit the patient’s ability to participate in exercises
Hyaluronic acid injections are another injection modality designed to help lubricate the joint and reduce the pain and inflammation of the joint. These injections attempt to help replace the joint’s natural fluid and are sometimes described as “paving the potholes in the joint.” By reducing the inflammation and pain in the joint is opened up for the patient to stretch and strengthen the appropriate muscles.
Osteoarthritis symptoms can be successfully managed through non-surgical care. For some, however, if they are experiencing severe joint damage, extreme pain, or very restricted mobility, surgery may be a viable option.
Common types of surgery for osteoarthritis of the hip or osteoarthritis of the knee include arthroscopic surgery, osteotomy, and arthroplasty (total joint replacement) .The potential benefits of surgery, such as improved movement and joint pain relief.
Total Knee Replacement
Total knee replacement is actually a resurfacing procedure where an approximately ½ inch of bone is removed from the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), the upper end of the lower leg bone (tibia), and the under-surface of the kneecap (patella). These surfaces are then covered with a metal prosthesis on the femur and a plastic prosthesis on the tibia and patella.
Implants have evolved to accommodate a patient’s individual anatomy. They have become more durable to accommodate the younger patient’s expectation for an active lifestyle.
Total knee replacement is truly a life-changing procedure. It allows an arthritis patient who has suffered from pain and loss of independence to regain their mobility and be out of pain with joint pain treatment.
Total Hip replacement
Total hip replacement has been around in various forms for many years. The technique and the material used have evolved to the procedure used today.
Total hip replacement is truly a replacement, as opposed to a total knee replacement which is really a resurfacing procedure. In a hip replacement, the femoral head is removed. The cup (acetabulum) is reamed and replaced with a metal-backed plastic cup. A metal stem is placed down the shaft of the thigh bone (femur). A metal ball is placed on top of the stem. The ball is then reduced to the cup. This procedure stops the patient’s arthritic femoral head from rubbing against their arthritic cup, relieving their pain.
Initially, this procedure was only performed on elderly patients. With the development of improved metal and plastic, it can be performed on younger patients as well. These newer techniques allow for the more durable prosthesis, which will more readily tolerate the demands of the younger, more active patient.
The operative procedure has become quicker and more efficient. Rehabilitation has been geared to get the patient back to their active lifestyle quicker without hip joint pain.
Total hip replacement is truly a life-changing procedure. It allows a patient who has suffered from pain and loss of independence to regain their mobility and be free from hip pain.
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