Treating Osteoarthritis

Regenerative Medicine Midland TXArthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases. The basic definition of arthritis is inflammation of the joints. At Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, we deal primarily with a particular type of arthritis, known colloquially as “wear and tear arthritis” — osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis usually affects patients in their older years and can be a result of repetitive use, such as from certain sports, or just from the day in and day out use over the years. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. While it can occur in most of the body’s joints, it is most common in the weight-bearing joints: the hips, knees, and spine. Osteoarthritis doesn’t usually affect other joints unless there was a traumatic injury, excessive stress on the joint, or a problem with the cartilage in the joint. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse as wear and tear continue with additional passing years.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Symptoms develop slowly with time. These are the common symptoms:

  • Pain after activity involving the joint
  • Stiffness following periods of inactivity
  • Joint swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation or clicking sound when joint is used

Diagnosing osteoarthritis

In addition to a thorough physical exam and referencing of the patient’s family history, the team at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists will often include these diagnostic tests:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • Blood tests
  • Analysis of joint fluids

Treating osteoarthritis

At Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, we try a variety of treatment methods before we even consider any replacement surgery on the knees or hips. The goals of these treatments are to relieve pain, increase mobility, and restore the quality of life. Short of surgery, these are the treatments we use:

  • Weight loss for obese patients
  • Exercise to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
  • Medications (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Creams or gels with ingredients such as capsaicin
  • Joint injections such as cortisone
  • Hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring lubricant in the body) injections
  • Assistive devices such as orthotics, canes, or braces

Cortisone is a steroid that when injected directly into the joint can provide effective anti-inflammatory relief, which leads to pain relief. Cortisone’s effects can last from a few weeks up to a few months.

If the above treatments don’t seem to provide relief, the next step is a joint replacement. Dr. Hester is expert with total knee and ankle replacements.

If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of osteoarthritis, call the team at Urgent Orthopedic Specialists, 432-520-3020, and let’s get you back to moving without pain.

Posted in: Regenerative Medicine

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