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Arthritis Simplified by Sports Medicine M.D.

October 2, 2012

 

Osteoarthritis, as the medical name goes, is an irreversible degenerative condition that involves loss of articular cartilage, leading to deformity of joint and pain. it mostly affects the weight bearing joints in our body, such as the knees and lower spine. it is not limited to these joints, however, also affecting fingers, wrists, shoulders, hips, and feet. The development of this condition is usually related to genetics, obesity, overuse or trauma of the joint. Patients typically refer pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints. They sometimes have a sensation of discomfort on the joints with certain weather changes, usually with the cold weather. Prolonged physical activity usually exacerbates the symptoms, and they tend to be relieved by rest. What most people ignore is that prolonged rest helps de-condition our body, therefore it worsens the condition itself. Upon examination, your doctor may find limited mobility or pain while moving the joints, swelling and sometimes warmth to the touch. Sometimes a sample of synovial fluid (joint fluid) is evaluated to determine the reason for the swelling. Radio-graphs often show changes, but it is important for them to be performed while the patient is standing up whenever possible, as the actual weight bearing will demonstrate where the problem is worse. How do we treat this condition?

  • patient education is important
  • avoiding high impact activities
  • anti-inflammatory
  • physical therapy: for conditioning and muscle strength leading to decreased load on joints
  • some rest
  • knee injections (there are several variants of these: corticosteroid/anti-inflammatory injections and viscosupplementation, in which a substance close to that normally in our joints is injected, increasing the joint space and reducing the symptoms)
  • surgery

In Sports Medicine it is important for us to try to avoid surgery at all costs while keeping the patient pain free and active. If you or someone you know is suffering from joint pains do not let this condition take control of your life. Take control of this condition, for with adequate and close care, the worse symptoms can be prevented. Talk to your Sports Medicine Doctor to stay active and pain-free.

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