Degenerative disease of the joint is commonly known as osteoarthritis is one popular wear and tear of the tissues. The cause behind this condition is chronic repetitive movement that ends up in structural damage of the joint and inflammation. Inflammation could cause swelling, redness, and pain. Even the slightest amount of trauma can trigger inflammation because the body tries to protect or clean-up the tissue that is damaged.
This entire cycle where joint damage followed by inflammation brings cartilage break down (the cartilage works as a smooth gliding surface along with cushion for all joints). Any part of the joint can be affected, however the damage is more frequent in the spine, hips, hands, and knees.
Above 50% of the adults at 65 and beyond get affected due to degenerative joint ailments. This condition brings with it a lot of pain, functional loss, less endurance, ultimately ending up in weight gain and related complications.
There are certain predisposing factors like repetitive motion, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, infection, obesity, osteoporosis, bone disorders, etc. Degenerative diseases occur equally in men and women before they reach 55 but increase more in women once they are above 55. Know osteoarthritis is highly predominant in women from African American origin. Men are found highly affected in hips and women more in the knees.
Patients could be experiencing pain, limited motion range, stiffness, weakness, flexibility loss, deformed joints, and cartilage damage. The condition worsens with the progress of the disease.
Physical examination focuses on how to regulate motion in the joint range, its tenderness, and how strong the associated muscles are. The physician will examine walking ability of the patient along with evaluating the self care and the depression that is inevitable in case of immense pain.
Osteoporosis is mostly diagnosed by doctors who have training in muscles and bones, like that of PM&R physician, using several techniques like physical examination, imaging, studying patient’s history, imaging and other techniques. Other techniques would involve removing fluid from the joint that is affected, which gets analyzed and then arthroscopy, which involves inserting a small scope inside the joint that could be used to check and see the damage.
Arthritis gets managed the best first through physical medicine and through PM&R physician rehabilitation who is exceedingly well trained in conservative treatment of problems related to muscles and joints. The methods of treatment used include loss of weight, acetaminophen, injections, viscosupplementation followed by rehabilitation. Viscosupplementation is a more common phenomenon now a days as it helps in alleviating arthritis through injecting a gel-like substance that works on the principle of behaving like natural lubricant that is created into the joint so that more cushion is allowed in the joint. If even after the conservative management, pain persists, the patient may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon so as to understand if total arthroplasty of the joint would necessary.
Patient along with their family’s education regarding weight reduction, physical workouts, and how to use pain medicine can be of benefit. There are many organizations that can offer information and support to the patients and families.
At Cura, we have expert panel of doctors and physiotherapists, along with nursing and other staffs who can take care of the patient from beginning to the end. They are trained at the hospital to understand the entire scenario of the disease and its features and hence can provide a holistic guidance with treatment to the patient.
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