Arthritis in literally means inflammation of a joint and generally used to describe any condition in which there is damage to the cartilage. Cartilage is a padding that absorbs stress. The proportion of cartilage damage and synovial inflammation varies with the type and stage of arthritis. Early stage pain is due to inflammation. In further stages, when the cartilage is worn away, most part of the pain comes from the mechanical friction of raw bones rubbing on each other.
The few most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis, is one of the condition which is the result of either excessive wear/abuse of the joint when you were younger, trauma to the knee in the past or a resection of a torn cartilage years ago, or aging. The smooth gliding surface of the joint, the cushioning cartilage layer, is worn away. This condition become worse when there is increase in weight and imperfect alignment of the weight-bearing axis like knocked knees or pitched toes.
Rheumatoid arthritis, is caused due to dysfunction of the immune system whereby a significant inflammation affects the capsule lining which makes the joint fluid. Above given reasons result to a slow destruction of the cushioning cartilage layer.
Post Traumatic Arthritis can leads to a serious knee injury. knee fracture or severe tears of the knees ligaments may damage the articular cartilage over time, results knee pain and limiting knee function.
Some conditions may predispose the hip to osteoarthritis,
Abnormalities of knee joint function results from fractures of the knee, torn cartilage and torn ligaments may lead to degeneration even after many years of the injury. The mechanical abnormality leads to excessive wear and tear – just like the out-of-balance tire that wears out too soon on your car.
The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
Doctors diagnose arthritis with a medical history of patient , physical exam of patient and x-rays of the hip.
As such there is no cure for arthritis, so beware of ‘miracle cures’. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine. He/she may recommend occupational therapy or physiotherapy, which includes exercises and heat treatment. In critical cases, surgery may be suggested, such as a hip or knee replacement. Type of surgery will depends on your age and severity of the disease. In the elderly with severe arthritis, joint replacement can give good results.
Initial treatment of osteoarthritis of the hip or knee is quite conservative, consist resting , avoidance of vigorous weight bearing activities, and the use of non-narcotic analgesic and or anti inflammatory medications. With worsening symptoms a cane or a knee brace may be helpful. For more critical symptoms, an injection of cortisone into the joint is frequently advised and can be quite helpful.
When all conservative measures have been exhausted and are no longer helpful, and the arthritis has become disabling, then surgery could be recommended.
Treatment of osteoarthritis focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement, and may include following :