What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition where the cartilage cushioning the the ends of bones forming the joints breaks down. It also is characterized by a deterioration of the tendons and ligaments, and possibly inflammation of the joint lining. OA is clearly related to aging, with both the incidence and prevalence of OA increasing with age. Research has shown that the lifetime risk of developing OA of the knee is 46% and of the hip, 25%. To this day, there has been no cure for OA, and treatment of OA focuses on reducing pain and improving function.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
OA usually affects commonly used joints such as the hands and spine, and weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis
Rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating OA and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. A diagnosis of OA may be based on symptoms, examination and imaging.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis
While there is no cure for OA, its symptoms can often be managed and its progression delayed. Physical therapy and lifestyle changes such as losing weight and daily exercise are very important key in the treatment of OA. Your rheumatologist may prescribe any of the following depending on the severity of your condition.
Creams and ointments such as lidocaine, capsaicin and diclofenac can be applied directly on the skin covering the joint and may provide temporary relief from symptoms.
Tylenol, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) can be used as initial treatment.
There are different types of injections that can be used, Corticosteroids, or cortisone shots, Hyaluronic acid injections, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), Traumeel and Zeel , all of which can provide extended pain relief from OA. These injections may delay knee replacement by a few years in some patients.
In severe cases of OA, surgery may be the best option. Your rheumatologist will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint surgeries. Joint replacement is most commonly performed on the hip and knee and has offered pain relief and functional recovery to patients for decades.
The rheumatologists at Saint John’s Physician Partners have been integrally involved in the development of medications that treat inflammatory arthritis conditions for decades. They were involved in the clinical trials that led to the approval at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medications that treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), ankylosing spondylitis (SpA), osteoarthritis, and other bone and skin conditions like osteoporosis and psoriasis advanced therapies, some of which are biologic treatments.
Orrin Troum, M.D. and Amro Elbalkhi, M.D. provide consultation, diagnosis, and treatment for rheumatic diseases including inflammatory arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis), scleroderma, myositis, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. The Medical Doctors of Saint Johns strive to provide world class care and a personalized treatment plan for all patients and their families.