Arthritis: The Leading Cause of Joint Pain
As you may have heard from our new “Join the Movement” campaign, Excelsior Orthopaedics is a local leader in total joint replacement. Our surgeons and staff members are passionate about helping people regain control of their lives and get back to freedom from pain, but before we can start talking about any of that, we need to make sure our patients understand their afflictions.
Do you have joint pain in your hip, knee or shoulder? There are a variety of factors that could cause this, but the most common of these factors is arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that wears down your bones and joints over time, usually getting progressively worse as you age. If you’re having trouble getting up and down the stairs, reaching the top shelf, or staying as active as you used to, here’s some insight into what might be the source of your problem.
What is arthritis and how does it work?
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among Americans, affecting more than 52 million adults. That’s 20% of the US adult population. At its core, it’s a condition that causes pain and stiffness and takes many different forms, the most common of which is osteoarthritis – the wearing down of cartilage and bones.
Arthritis usually begins around age 40 and continues to get progressively worse as you age. You know that pain you feel in your knees and hips when you move? That’s likely osteoarthritis at work. Your joints allow the smooth movement of bones because they’re coated with soft material called cartilage and are lubricated with other fluids. As osteoarthritis worsens, this cartilage wears down leaving a bone-on-bone connection in your joints. The resulting friction of two bones grinding together causes many of the symptoms you might be feeling.
What are the symptoms or arthritis?
These can vary from case to case based on the kind of arthritis you’re suffering from and your individual condition, but generally, some of the common symptoms include:
- Pain – Initially you may experience soreness only during activity, but over time you may feel growing discomfort when standing, sitting, or even sleeping. Your joints may also become sore tender to the touch.
- Stiffness – As the cartilage in your bones wears down, movement will be a lot more difficult, and stiffness will begin hindering your activity.
- Decreased range of motion – In more severe cases, some patients can even begin losing the ability to extend their extremities to their full range.
- Compromised happiness – This one is often overlooked, but it’s too important to skip. If you can’t pick up your grandkids, walk to the park, or get a good night’s sleep, your happiness is being compromised.
How can I get back to pain-free living?
Many people who are diagnosed with arthritis don’t fully understand their options or don’t know that relief is available. But the good news is that there are options, and you can get back to living an active life without pain.
In less severe cases, pain medication and exercise can be used to fight against the progress of arthritis, but in more advanced cases, that option just won’t be enough. The first step is to see your doctor or visit an orthopaedic specialist and get a diagnosis. If your symptoms are interfering with your quality of life, you shouldn’t wait to seek help.
One of the best and most common treatments for advanced arthritis is total joint replacement. That can often sound intimidating for a patient, but the truth is it’s the most proven way to reduce joint pain. No patient is too young or too old for a surgery that could be life-changing, and there is less risk than you probably think.
Every year, more than 600,000 Americans get hip replacements, 270,000 get a knee replaced, and another 50,000+ opt for shoulder replacement surgery. With the continuing advance of technology, success rates of these surgeries are higher than ever, and recovery times keep decreasing.
If you’re suffering from joint pain and want to reclaim your quality of life, the answer is simple. Join the movement. Our specialists at Excelsior are ready to see you right away, so why wait? Request an appointment or give us a call today.
Sources: Mayo Clinic