Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that results in the wearing out of the joints. It can impact any joint, but most often affects knees, hips, lower back and neck. It’s a common condition, with more than 27 million Americans experiencing its debilitative effect.
In healthy joints, the cartilage covers the end of the bone, providing a cushion between bones. When the cartilage begins to wear down the pain and swelling can occur between the bones. With time, bones may break down or develop growths which are called spurs. Chips of bone or cartilage may break off and float around in the joint. In the final stages of osteoarthritis, the cartilage has worn away and leaves bone rubbing against bone leading to joint damage and disability.
What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
With the onset of osteoarthritis, most people experience pain and joint stiffness (especially in the morning). Additional symptoms include swelling and soreness in one or more joint, clicking or cracking sounds in their joint and limited range of motion.
It is important to see expert help to diagnose your condition properly. Your physician will ask you about symptoms and gather a medical history, examine the area of pain and order diagnostic tests. A few of the options for testing include blood work, X-rays, a CT scan or MRI which will provide a visual of the alignment of your painful joint and its condition.
How is Osteoarthritis Treated?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that is not curable. But there are treatments to manage the symptoms including:
- Physical Activity
- Weight Management
- Pain and Anti-inflammatory medications
- Assistive Devices
- Surgical Options
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the above to treat your joint.
Understanding Your Surgical Options
If you’ve tried multiple approaches to alleviate your arthritis pain, and your joint damage is beginning to impact your quality of life, then your doctor will likely suggest surgery. This will help in relieving your pain and restoring your mobility. Surgery today has come a long way and offers a full range of surgical procedures which can be tailor made to your needs.
At Adventist Health Lodi Memorial, Dr. Stephen M. Howell provides his patients with the kinematic alignment procedure, which is a customized approach designed for your anatomy. The kinematic knee procedure offers patients shorter lengths of stay, quicker return to prior function and consistent and reproducible outcomes.