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Osteoarthritis is the single most common joint disorder. Known also as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual wear and tear on a joint, leading to the loss of cartilage. As we age, the repetitive use of the joints causes joint pain, swelling and inflammation. Obesity also plays a role in putting extra weight and stress on joints.

Patients with severe osteoarthritis have lost the cartilage between the bones, resulting in inflammation, constant pain and limited range of motion. Chronic inflammation can stimulate the bones to grow outgrowths, or spurs, around the joints, causing additional pain.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis

We utilize X-rays and arthrocentesis in diagnosing osteoarthritis. X-rays can show the loss of joint cartilage and narrowing between bones. Arthrocentesis is a procedure in which we draw a fluid sample from the joint for analysis. With arthrocentesis, we can also inject steroids into the joint to help relieve inflammation and pain.

Treatment

There is not one definitive treatment for osteoarthritis. We recommend the following to help relieve the symptoms:

  • Weight reduction
  • Exercise (swimming and walking are good options)
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injections
  • Pain relievers (aspirin and acetaminophen)
  • Medications
  • Analgesics (pain-relieving creams)

Joint replacement surgery is the last option for patients with osteoarthritis. It is recommended when the osteoarthritis is debilitating or not responding to conventional treatments.

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