Post-Traumatic Arthritis

An additional cause for osteoarthritis is due to repetitive movements or injuries to joints including examples such as a fracture, surgery or ligament tears. Athletes can repeatedly damage joints, tendons or ligaments, contributing to a faster breakdown of cartilage. Some workplace roles require standing for extended periods of time, repetitive bending, heavy lifting or other movements that can also make cartilage wear away more quickly. And lastly, an imbalance or weakness of the muscles supporting a joint can also lead to altered movement and eventual cartilage breakdown in joints.

What Are the Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Arthritis?

A sprain, fracture or other joint injury can cause damage to the cartilage. Once this damage occurs, it does not typically grow back. The injurious areas fill with scar tissue, which is no substitute for healthy cartilage. The symptoms from this condition are very similar to osteoarthritis.

How is Post-Traumatic Arthritis Treated?

Post-traumatic arthritis is treated similarly to osteoarthritis. Some treatments to manage the symptoms include:

  • Physical activity
  • Weight management
  • Stretching
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • Surgical options

Managing the Pain

Reduction of the inflammation is the key, so your doctor may tell you to use cold packs or prescribe or recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen). Sometimes a local injection of cortisone may be necessary to further reduce inflammation.

Understanding your Surgical Options

If you are still experiencing arthritis pain and joint damage that’s affecting your quality of life even after all other conservative measures have been taken, your doctor may suggest surgery to help relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Your doctor will determine the proper surgical treatment based on the severity of your arthritis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

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