FAQ\’s on Arthritis of the Knee, Hip, or Shoulder
What is Arthritis of the Knee, Hip, or Shoulder?
The joints of the body are surrounded by a layer of cartilage that allows the bones to move against one another freely without touching one another. As a person ages, this cartilage can be gradually worn down until the bones are touching. When this occurs, damage can be sustained from the bones rubbing together, resulting in pain for the patient and inflammation of the area.
Arthritic inflammation occurs most often in the knees, hips, or shoulders of a patient. This is largely due to the amount of activity these areas see on a daily basis. While there is no direct cure for the presence of arthritis, our clinic is more than apt at providing relief for the painful symptoms this condition can cause.
What causes Arthritis in these joints?
Arthritic inflammation in the knee, hip, or shoulder results from the general degradation of the cartilage lining the joints. This can occur normally as a person ages, as cartilage is lost gradually over time during routine activity of the joint. This gradual loss is known as Osteoarthritis, and is the most common form of arthritic inflammation a patient can experience. One factor that can contribute to the formation of Osteoarthritic is obesity, as the excess weight placed onto the joints can accelerate the degradation of cartilage.
The second most common arthritic condition a patient can experience is Rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs due to an autoimmune malfunction. With this, the immune system of a patient will attack portions of the joints and produce the pain, swelling, and stiffness in these joints. Rheumatoid arthritis that is left untreated can potentially reduce the function of the affected joint to a state of complete disability.
The symptoms of Arthritic Inflammation in the Knee, Hip, or Shoulder
The symptoms of arthritis are very similar across all three joint areas, and will be similar regardless of the root cause. The first symptom many experience will be pain and a stiffness of the afflicted joint. Following this is a swelling of the area, and a discoloration of the skin (commonly occurring as redness) with a feeling of warmth to the flesh when touched.
A large amount of swelling in the joint may potentially immobilize it, preventing function of the joint and causing a large amount of pain anytime the joint is moved slightly. It is possible for symptoms to fade and return in the early stages of arthritis, and is crucial to begin treatment for this condition as early as possible to prevent a worsening of the damage and to provide pain relief.
How is Arthritis diagnosed in these joints?
Diagnosis for arthritis in the knee, hip, or shoulder will come from a combination of diagnostic tools. A physical examination will be conducted of the patient to test for areas of tenderness and to examine the functionality of the affected joint. Further testing may be performed based on the symptoms present; as physicians will opt to use diagnostic imaging techniques in instances where physical joint damage may be significant.
Treatment options for Arthritis
Regardless of which joint is inflamed, there are a number of options available for obtaining pain relief and restoring function. While there is no direct cure for the condition, symptomatic management is rather easy to achieve through the use of medication and injections. Pain medication and anti-inflammatory medications are given first to help combat the symptoms. Severe cases may require surgical correction to smooth out the surfaces of bones in the joint to reduce wear and tear.
One key thing patients can do to help provide relief is to cease whatever activity was stressing the joint to reduce the wear and tear placed on it.