If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, you may be left wondering why. OA occurs when the articular cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joints gradually wears away. This wear and tear results in a rough surface, making joint motion painful. Osteoarthritis can develop as a result of the following risk factors:
- Physical activity
- Family history
3 Tips for Living with OA:
- Weight loss: A healthy weight is key in living with OA, especially in cases where obesity is a factor. If your osteoarthritis affects weight-bearing joints, such as the knee, hip, spine, or ankle, weight loss may help relieve OA symptoms. Focus on a well balanced, healthy diet to help shed unwanted weight.
- Medications: In certain cases, medications may be prescribed to help combat pain and reduce inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Medications that may be used include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, which are injected directly into the joint. Although dietary supplements may be recommended by certain providers, supplements have not been proven to work by many medical publications.
- Staying active through low impact activity: Staying active is important for osteoarthritis sufferers. However, a modification to work and sports activities may be necessary. Low impact activities, such as walking, swimming, and yoga are great ways to remain activity without putting too much stress on the joints, provoking OA pain. Physical Therapy is frequently used to improve motion, flexibility, and strength.
At times, the pain and discomfort caused by osteoarthritis may not be controllable through non-invasive measures. In cases such as this, your provider may recommend surgery to repair the damage to the joint, thus relieving your symptoms. Age, activity level of the patient, the condition of the affected joint, and the extent to which osteoarthritis has progressed are all taken into account prior to determining if surgery is a viable option. The surgical options for treating OA include:
- Total Joint Replacement: This surgical produce uses artificial joints to replace the problem joint. The artificial joint then acts as a healthy, functioning joint.
- Joint Fusion: During a fusion, the joints flexibility is eliminated by fastening together the ends of bone. This is primarily used in the small joints of the hand or foot.
- Arthroscopy: Through the use of a tiny camera called an arthroscope, bone spurs, cysts, damaged lining, or loose fragments in the joint are removed through two or three small incisions. Results of arthroscopy for arthritis vary and pain may persist.
- Osteotomy: During this procedure, the long bones in the leg are realigned to take pressure off of the problem joint.
Learn More About How South Shore Orthopedics Can Help
If you are suffering from osteoarthritis symptoms, we invite you visit South Shore Orthopedics. Our providers are experts when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of OA. Don’t live with pain any longer, schedule an appointment today.