Arthritis


Introduction

Most Common Types of Arthritis:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – Membranes or tissues lining the joint become inflamed
  • Post-traumatic Arthritis – Irregularities lead to more wear on the joint
  • Avascular Necrosis – Bone may collapse and damage the cartilage
  • Paget’s Disease – The density and the shape of the bone change

Did you know?

  • Nearly 21 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that is a leading cause of joint replacement surgery. – Source: www.arthritis.org
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, the most crippling form of arthritis, affects approximately 2.1 million Americans and two to three times more women than men. Further, the average onset for rheumatoid arthritis is between the ages of 20 and 45 years old. – Source: CDC

Osteoarthritis

What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the world.1 You may have heard OA referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis. When OA begins to affect one of your joints, a series of reactions take place that actually begin to degrade your once-healthy bone and the “soft tissue” around the joint – tendons and cartilage. Once the cartilage that normally cushions and protects the bones of the joint breaks down, the bones of your joint eventually rub directly against each other. Your body reacts to this by creating bone spurs and the joint capsule itself may thicken and weaken. Inflammation eventually sets in.

Doctors talk about two kinds of OA. Primary OA often refers to “everyday wear”; Secondary OA is considered the result of a malaligned joint, being overweight, injury or overuse. 1,2

Who does OA affect?

Twenty-one million people are affected by OA in the United States alone.3 Although OA can affect anyone at any age, it has been linked to the aging process. More than 50% of everyone over 65 has OA symptoms in one or both knees. By 75, virtually everyone suffers with OA in one or more joints. In fact, OA of the knee and hips continues to be the most common cause of arthritis-related disability for Americans. The Arthritis Foundation cites that men and women may develop OA at different times in life. Most people develop symptoms after 45, but, as a group, men under 55 and women over 55 develop OA more frequently.

What are the symptoms of OA?

Although some people who have osteoarthritis say they feel no pain, most people who have OA experience pain, feel joint stiffness (especially in the morning), show signs of swelling and tenderness in one or more joints and may even hear a crunching sound in their joints. For some people, OA can become completely debilitating.3

In order to diagnose you properly, your doctor will consider your symptoms and your medical history, examine your joint(s) and order one or more diagnostic tests. Your doctor may order blood work, X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI to get a clear view of the alignment of your painful joint and its condition.

How is OA treated?

Your doctor may recommend different treatment options depending on the severity of your osteoarthritis and its impact on your joint(s).

Manage the Pain
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) and cold packs that may help to reduce inflammation as well as the pain associated with arthritis. Sometimes a local injection of cortisone helps to further reduce inflammation.

Look at the Big Picture
Your doctor may recommend that you lose weight, take certain nutritional supplements and exercise. In some cases, a physical therapist may help provide pain relief and the return of some lost mobility through guided exercise and other techniques.

Get the Right Support
Orthotic devices sometimes help. Custom-made shoes and shoe inserts provide support for those with OA in the foot or ankle. Your doctor may recommend a brace or a cane to help take some of the pressure off your affected joint while you walk if OA is affecting your knee or hip.

Understand 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 and its location. Today, a full range of surgical solutions exist that enable your doctor to customize surgical procedures to your particular needs and anatomy, whether you need arthroscopic debridement (removing inflamed and/or irritating debris from the joint), arthrodesis (fusing the joint for greater support) or arthroplasty (replacing the arthritic joint).

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

References:

  1. 1. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Osteoarthritis: Introduction. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoarthritis/DS00019. Accessed February 4, 2008.
  2. 2. MedicineNet, Inc. Osteoarthritis. WebMD. Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/osteoarthritis/page5.htm#minimal. Accessed February 4, 2008.
  3. 3. Arthritis Foundation. Osteoarthritis: Who Gets It? Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=32&df=whos_at_risk. Accessed November 5, 2008.

© Stryker Orthopaedics 2008


Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s natural immune response wreaks havoc on the lining of the joints (called the synovial membrane), causing chronic inflammation and pain.1 The inflammation may eventually damage the joint’s cartilage and bone, weaken the soft tissue around the joint (cartilage, ligaments and tendons) and prevent the joint from working properly. 1

Who does RA affect?

More than two million people in the United States have been diagnosed with RA.2 RA can affect anyone at any age, but women appear especially at risk. In fact, women develop RA more than twice as often as men.3 Although the medical community does not know what causes RA, today’s best research has identified a genetic marker, found in white blood cells, that may help doctors determine if a particular person is at an increased risk. 2, 3

What are the symptoms of RA?

RA is a chronic, persistent disease that seems to take its own course over an affected person’s lifetime. It may progress slowly, sometimes produce “flare ups” of symptoms, and then at times go into “remission” during which the symptoms may greatly diminish or disappear. Unfortunately, RA never seems to go away completely.

Doctors sometimes talk about the three stages of RA. Those stages are identified by specific symptoms. In the first stage, RA causes pain, warmth, redness and swelling in affected joints. In the second stage, it causes thickening of the joint lining. In the third, permanent joint damage begins to occur as bone and cartilage are attacked by the enzymes released by the inflamed cells in the affected joint’s once-healthy cushioning fluid (called synovial fluid). 1, 4

In addition to joint pain, swelling and stiffness, the symptoms of RA commonly include fatigue, weakness, flu-like symptoms accompanied by a low-grade fever, loss of appetite, depression, chronic dry eye or dry mouth and, in people with more advanced RA, bumps (called rheumatoid nodules) under the skin. 1, 5

Without question, left untreated, RA can greatly reduce your quality of life. You may have already begun to decrease your activity level just to avoid the pain caused by a joint affected by RA. It’s not uncommon for the joint damage caused by RA to lead to a loss of movement, an inability to work, and even the need for surgery to repair the damage. 4

In order to diagnose you properly, your doctor will consider your symptoms and your medical history, examine your joint(s) and order one or more diagnostic tests. Your doctor may order blood work, X-rays, a CT scan or an MRI to get a clear view of your condition.

How is RA treated?

Your primary doctor will refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in inflammatory diseases like RA. Your rheumatologist may recommend different treatment options depending on the severity of your RA and its impact on your joint(s) and your body as a whole. And while there is no cure, RA can be controlled through the use of new drugs, exercise, joint protection techniques and self-management techniques.

Manage the Pain and Preserve Your Joint
Today, most doctors understand the value of treating RA more aggressively with very specific medications in order to slow the progression of the disease, joint deformity and loss of function.1 Your doctor may prescribe any one of these medications, or a combination of several: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), analgesics, steroids, disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) or biologic response modifiers that work on the immune system.

Look at the Big Picture
Your doctor may recommend that you modify your diet, take certain nutritional supplements, exercise and get adequate sleep. Your doctor may also encourage you to learn about how managing your stress and learning some relaxation techniques may help improve your quality of life and help you to handle your RA symptoms with greater ease. 6

Understand 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. Today, a full range of surgical solutions exist that enable your doctor to customize surgical procedures to your particular needs and anatomy, whether you need arthroscopic debridement (removing inflamed and/or irritating debris from the joint), arthrodesis (fusing the joint for greater support) or arthroplasty (replacing the arthritic joint).

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

References:

  1. 1. NIAMS: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Handout on Health: Rheumatoid Arthritis. National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rheumatic_Disease/default.asp. Accessed February 6, 2008.
  2. 2. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Overview. Accessed February 5, 2008.
  3. 3. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Who Gets It? Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=31&df=whos_at_risk. Accessed November 5, 2008.
  4. 4. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis: What Is It? Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/disease-center.php?disease_id=31. Accessed February 6, 2008.
  5. 5. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms. Accessed February 6, 2008.
  6. 6. Haaz S. Patient Education: Counseling RA Patients about Lifestyle and Diet Changes. Arthritis Practitioner. Available at: http://www.arthritispractitioner.com/article/4602. Accessed February 4, 2008.

© Stryker Orthopaedics 2008



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