Osteoarthritis Treatment Specialist Questions and Answers
Talk to our team of experienced orthopedic surgeons today at The Spine and Orthopedic Institute St. Vincent Charity Medical Center about treatment for osteoarthritis. Call us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 5020 Victor Drive Medina, OH 44256.
What is the main cause of osteoarthritis?
It’s common knowledge that when we reach our senior years, certain parts of the body just start to hurt. The reason for this pain is most often osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis occurs after using our joints, over and over throughout the course of our life, and the cartilage becomes damaged. Proteins begin to break down, and water builds up in the cartilage, which leads to pain and swelling. Cartilage is the rubbery material that eases friction between the joints when we move them, and when it breaks down it may get small tears or begin to flake.
Osteoarthritis most commonly occurs in the spine, hips, knees, fingers, thumbs, and the big toe. In the most severe cases of osteoarthritis, the cartilage is completely lost, which causes intense pain when moving the joints, as there is nothing to ease the friction between the bones of the joint. Cartilage damage can also lead to bone spurs around the joints.
Secondary osteoarthritis is a condition when another medical condition or disease is the cause of the cartilage damage. Occasionally, osteoarthritis has been known to happen in several members of one family, indicating that it can be genetically passed down from parents to children.
What is the difference between arthritis and osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis and arthritis are often confused as one in the same, due to the fact that they both involve joint pain, however they are quite different.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by the gradual wearing down of cartilage and bone within the joints and is considered a mechanical condition.
The most notable risk factor in osteoarthritis is aging. With osteoarthritis, pain commonly occurs during movement, and subsides when at rest. Certain occupations that involve moving the same joints repetitively for years can be a cause of osteoarthritis.
Obesity is also a risk factor for osteoarthritis and is most often found in the knees and hips.
Arthritis is not caused by everyday wear and tear of the bones. Most often, arthritis is caused by autoimmune diseases and hereditary factors.
Those with immune system disorders or chemical imbalance are also at greater risk of developing arthritis. Arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cartilage in the joints, releasing enzymes that deteriorate the joints.
The symptoms of arthritis are pain, swelling, and stiffness. Moving the joint often reduces the pain intensity, and is often worse when at rest, which is the opposite of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is much more common than arthritis, and though both involve inflammation, arthritis causes much more inflammation. Arthritis can affect multiple joints, and on both sides of the body, where osteoarthritis is most common on one side, and affects a few joints.
In addition, the systemic inflammation caused by arthritis can also cause fever, and other flu-like symptoms, and osteoarthritis is limited to the affected joints.
What happens if osteoarthritis is left untreated?
Given osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, without appropriate treatment, the symptoms of pain and stiffness can get worse over time. As it is movement that increases the pain and stiffness, mobility will be greatly disrupted if treatment is not sought.
How do orthopedic doctors treat Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, meaning that it does not go away, and there is no cure.
Treatments, however, can help a person manage their symptoms, slow the progression of the condition, and improve quality of life.
Treatments commonly involve medication and physical therapy, as well as maintaining a healthy diet and exercise habits.
Our team of highly trained orthopedic surgeons at The Spine and Orthopedic Institute St. Vincent Charity Medical Center take great pride in providing the highest quality of care. For information about the wide range of services provided, and to arrange an appointment, call or text us, or visit our website for directions. We want to help ensure you start living life again. We serve patients from Medina OH, Middleburg Heights OH, Akron OH, Parma OH, and Wellington OH.