At Beacon Orthopedics we offer a number of arthritis treatments for our patients from the Cincinnati, Dayton, Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky areas. There are many different forms of arthritis and various treatment options to ensure the best outcomes for your individual needs. We will work with you to determine the best course of action to reduce your arthritis pain and symptoms and help you achieve the quality of life you deserve.
What is Arthritis?
“Arthritis” is a general term for inflammation in a joint that causes stiffness and pain. A joint is located between the ends of two or more bones, and are cushioned by cartilage to reduce friction and help them move smoothly. Joints are enclosed by a capsule lined with tissue called synovium, which produces fluid to further reduce joint friction and wear.
Arthritis may be caused by wear and tear on a joint, an injury, or a disease. Roughly 1 in 4 adults in the United States are affected by arthritis. While arthritis is more common in adults, it can also affect children.1
Symptoms of Arthritis
The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness. Additional arthritis symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis include:
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and is caused by “wear and tear”: the wearing down of the cartilage that is responsible for cushioning the bones in a joint. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, and initial symptoms are pain, stiffness, and inflammation. As osteoarthritis progresses, patients may notice a swollen appearance to the affected joint, and joint movement will become increasingly difficult. Patients may also notice cracking or grinding noises when the joint is moved.2
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disease where an overactive immune system attacks the tissues lining the joints. While most forms of arthritis only attack joints on one side of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is bilateral. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the lining of the joints, which can eventually lead to cartilage damage and bone erosion. In addition to affecting the joints, rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and blood vessels.3
Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis, a skin disease. Psoriatic arthritis symptoms often accompany patches of red skin associated with the skin condition, which may present in flares alternating with periods of remission. Psoriatic arthritis may affect larger joints, but usually affects small joints like the fingers, toes, and joints in the foot.4
Gout (Crystalline Arthropathy)
Gout is a result of accumulation of uric acid in the bloodstream. The acid forms crystals, which lead to inflammation. The joints most commonly affected by gout include the elbow, big toe, knee, and ankle. Gout can be acutely painful, and joints also become red and very sensitive to the touch.5
Spondylotic arthritis mainly affects the spine but can also affect other parts of the body such as the legs and arms. The most common form of this type of arthritis is ankylosing spondylitis, a form of inflammatory arthritis that can cause vertebrae to fuse. This leads to reduced spinal flexibility, often resulting in hunched posture. If ankylosing spondylitis affects the ribs, it can cause breathing problems.6
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack tissues and organs. While lupus is not a form of arthritis, arthritis is a very common symptom of this condition. Lupus arthritis is caused by irritation, and can cause symptoms and joint damage even when the patient is not experiencing a lupus flare.7
Posttraumatic arthritis is the result of an injury or trauma. A broken bone or fracture that extends into the joint causes damage to the cartilage surrounding the joint. This creates an uneven surface, leading to friction and eventual arthritis.
Septic arthritis is caused by an infection in the joint. Usually, bacteria from an infection elsewhere in the body travels through the bloodstream to the joint. Joints affected by septic arthritis are very tender, warm, red, and often swollen. It is often necessary to surgically drain an infected joint and treat the infection with antibiotics.
Knee arthritis can cause pain and swelling around the knee joint, a knee joint that is painful to touch, locking of the knee joint and other symptoms that can affect a patient’s activity level and range of motion. Surgical treatment options for knee arthritis include total or partial knee replacement, ablation, knee resurfacing, and synovectomy.
Hand and Wrist Arthritis
Hand and wrist arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, bumps or nodules on the joint and other deformities, decreased range of motion, weakness, and difficulty grasping or pinching. If patients do not get adequate relief from non-surgical treatment of hand or wrist arthritis, we may perform a joint fusion or total joint replacement followed by specialized physical therapy.
Hip arthritis pain often extends beyond the hip joint to the buttocks, thigh, groin, and/or knee. Pain is usually worse in the morning or when weather is humid, and may also increase with activity. Patients with hip arthritis may experience difficulty walking, limited range of motion, stiffness, and a feeling of warmth around the joint. If non-surgical treatment does not adequately alleviate a patient’s symptoms, hip arthritis may be treated with total hip replacement, hip resurfacing, osteotomy, or synovectomy.
Non-Surgical Arthritis Treatment
Though there are no cures for arthritis, there are many treatment options available that will help to lessen your pain and discomfort. In most situations, non-surgical treatments will be attempted before surgery is deemed necessary.
Surgery for Arthritis
If these nonsurgical options fail to help with your arthritis then your doctor will likely recommend some type of surgery. The exact surgical procedure will depend on the location of the arthritis and the degree of joint inflammation. Some options include removing the joint lining, total joint replacement, joint realignment, or fusion of bones in the joint.
Not all joint replacements are created equal. Your orthopedic physician may recommend a partial joint replacement for knee arthritis, or a reverse shoulder replacement for an arthritic upper extremity joint. Consulting a sub-specialist will ultimately result in top quality care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Arthritis
Who is at risk for arthritis?
While the exact cause of many forms of arthritis is unknown, there are certain factors that may make more people prone to developing arthritis. Risk factors for arthritis include:
- Family history
- Joint injury or trauma
- Occupations requiring repetitive motions such as typing, bending, and squatting
In many cases, arthritis cannot be prevented. However, you can reduce the risk of developing arthritis by addressing risk factors it is in your power to change.
Do children get arthritis?
Yes. While arthritis is more common in adults, it can also affect children, often in the form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Early diagnosis and treatment of juvenile arthritis is essential, as the condition can cause permanent joint damage. Symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis include:
- Joint swelling
- Joint pain
- Inflammation of the eye
- Loss of appetite9
Can arthritis make me more susceptible to illness?
Inflammatory forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus may make people more vulnerable to complications from other common conditions, like the flu. This is because both these conditions and the medications used to treat them diminish the body’s immune response.
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics for Arthritis Treatment
If you suffer from pain, stiffness, and other symptoms of arthritis, the specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics can help. Patients from the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio areas as well as Northern Kentucky trust us to provide effective arthritis treatment that alleviates their symptoms and gets them back to enjoying the activities they love. To schedule a consultation with an arthritis specialist, please contact us.
1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis Basics. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/index.html. Accessed September 9, 2022.
2 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Osteoarthritis. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/osteoarthritis/. Accessed September 9, 2022.
3 Mayo Clinic. Rheumatoid arthritis. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353648. Accessed September 9, 2022.
4 Mayo Clinic. Psoriatic Arthritis. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076#:~:text=Psoriatic%20arthritis%20is%20a%20form,being%20diagnosed%20with%20psoriatic%20arthritis. Accessed September 9, 2022.
5 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Arthritis Overview. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/arthritis-an-overview/. Accessed September 9, 2022.
6 Mayo Clinic. Ankylosing spondylitis. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354808. Accessed September 8, 2022.
7 Lupus Foundation of America. How lupus differs from arthritis. Available: https://www.lupus.org/resources/how-lupus-differs-from-arthritis. Accessed September 9. 2022.
8 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arthritis Risk Factors. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/risk-factors.htm. Accessed September 9, 2022.
9 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FAQs About Arthritis. Available: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/faqs.htm. Accessed September 9, 2022.