What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is the general term used to describe inflammation in one or more joints of the body. This typically causes people joint pain, stiffness and sometimes swelling. Any joint can be affected but it is particularly common in weight bearing joints such as the spine, hips, and knees.

Types of Arthritis

There are many types of arthritis. They include osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and septic (infectious) arthritis. There are two predominant types of arthritis: osteoarthritis (wear and tear arthritis) and rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory).

Most types of arthritis results in a breakdown and loss of the slippery tissue (articular hyaline cartilage) that covers the ends of the bones.

Arthritis Treatment

While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments to help relieve the symptoms and disability that it causes.

Nonsurgical treatment includes medications both over the counter drugs and also prescription drugs. Injections into the joint may provide temporary relief of pain and swelling. These include steroid injections, viscosuuplementation (hyaluronic acid) and biologics. Lastly exercise and therapy may be used to decrease stiffness and strengthen joints and surrounding structures.

Surgical treatments are performed when non-surgical treatments have failed to relieve pain and other symptoms. Surgical treatment will vary depending on the type of arthritis, its severity, and the patient’s physical condition and age.

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