What is Arthritis?Arthritis is the type of joint disorder that causes some joints in the body to become swollen and painful. This can be the result of old age as the cartilage between the joints gets worn out, or due to an injury to the joint as well as an infection that occurs in the joint. Arthritis causes intense pain in the affected joints and also restricts movement of these joints to a large extent.
What are the types of Arthritis?There are over 100 types of arthritis in total but three of these are most commonly seen. These most common types of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis. This type of arthritis is known to affect the larger and the smaller joints as well, such as the wrist, ankles. Hands, feet, hip, back and knee. The most prevalent reason for acquiring osteoarthritis is the result of aging that causes the natural wear and tear to the joints with the passage of time. This type of arthritis may also occur as a result of an injury. Osteoarthritis usually begins with the degeneration of the soft cartilage tissue that lubricates and supports the joint and eventually results in the joint bones to rub against one another and get eroded. Osteoarthritis is usually seen in the large joints such as pelvis, spine and the back.
Rheumatoid arthritis is also another commonly seen arthritis type. It is caused when the person’s immune system malfunctions due to a reason and starts attacking the body’s tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis mostly affects the joint lining and cartilage that result in the erosion of the bones consisting of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is seen to occur in the knee, elbow, wrist and finger joints and can cause severe deformity as it progresses with time.
Gout is another more common form of arthritis and is caused due to abnormal deposits of uric acid crystals being formed in the joint that causes the joint to get inflamed. Initially gouty arthritis occurs only in one joint but eventually starts spreading to the other joints and has swift debilitating effects on the person. Gouty arthritis causes the joints to become severely inflamed and painful which restricts their function to a large extent.
What are the signs and symptoms of Arthritis?These are the most commonly seen symptoms in the various arthritis types:
- Stiffness of joint
- Continuous aching of joint
- Restricted limb and joint movements
- Fatigue and malaise
- Muscle aches
- Tenderness in the joints
What are the treatment options for Arthritis?The type of effective treatment method depends on the type of arthritis and its particular symptoms. These are the types if treatment options available for arthritis:
Physical therapy has been found to be very effective in improving movement of the affected joints as well as provide relief from the pain to some extent. Physical exercise in a regular manner also helps maintain the health of the affected joint and can work to prevent the condition from worsening. These physical therapies concentrate on strengthening the joint muscles, joint endurance as well as improving the flexibility.
The main aim of medications is to reduce the symptoms and work on improving the degenerative feature of the particular type of arthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most effective in reducing the inflammation and swelling in the joints.
Surgery is often considered as a last resort when the other non-surgical methods such as physical therapy and medications have been unsuccessful in addressing the arthritic problem and relieving the painful symptoms. There are a few different types of orthopedic surgeries that are dependent on the symptoms of the particular type of arthritis.
This surgery is used to remove the damaged soft tissue which is responsible for providing cushioning to the joint bones. This helps in reducing the swelling and pain in the rheumatoid arthritis and slows the degeneration of the cartilage and joints further.
This procedure is used to correct the bone degeneration that occurs as a result of erosion. This surgery aims to cut and shape the bone through setting it in a better position that avoids the bone ends to rub against each other.
Resection procedure aims to remove a part of, or the complete, bone when the bone joint has become painful and restricted its movement. This helps to relieve pain from the joint as well as to improve its functioning.
This surgical procedure works by fusing the bones of the joint together in order to relieve the pain due to their movement. This also has an added advantage of the fused joint being able to bear more weight, being comparatively stable and the pain is also relieved.
This surgical procedure is used to rebuild the affected joint. This is also known as a joint replacement procedure. Usually performed by relining or resurfacing the ends of the bones that form the joint where the cartilage has been worn out. In case of more severe arthritis cases where the bone ends in the joint is not repairable the surgeon will simply remove the ends of the bones and replace them with implants made of plastic, ceramic or metal-alloys. This type of surgical method is widely successful and mostly preferred for larger weight bearing joints such as the knee joint and the hip joint.