Arthritis is a musculoskeletal condition where the human body gradually degenerates over time, causing pain symptoms. It can be classified into two main categories: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the more common degenerative joint disease that affects nearly all joints of the body.
Gradually, bone, cartilage, muscle, and connective tissues begin to wear down, causing inflammation at a localized area. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s natural defense mechanism attacks the body’s own tissues. This occurs specifically with the synovium, which is a thin membrane, causing the joint to inflame.
Surgery is not always the best option. In less developed forms of joint arthritis, the following might be explored:
- Bracing / Splinting
- Wearing a brace / splint especially when active will alleviate some pressure on the joint.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen can relieve pain
- Steroid Injections
- A corticosteroid will provide relief but there’s a chance the symptoms may come back.
Exercising the muscles involved in the joint will strengthen the system as a whole, placing less stress on any specific point.
In more advanced forms of joint arthritis, uni-compartmental / total joint replacements might be considered. In the case of severe knee arthritis, medial compartment collapse might be evident. In this manner, a uni-compartmental replacement might be considered. However, if the lateral compartment is subsequently being affected, a total joint replacement might be considered the most appropriate procedure for long term benefit.
What Happens Without Treatment?
Musculoskeletal arthritis will continue to worsen over time. The process of degradation is not immediate, but rather a gradual process that might eventually affect multiple joints in the body. For example, for severe hip arthritis recommended to have a total hip replacement, the knee and ankle may subsequently being affected if left untreated.
- Reduce Force on Joints
- When exercising or running, it is often much easier on the lower extremity joints to do so on a soft surface (e.g. grass, rubberized track).
- Practice safe form with joint movements
- When lifting a heavy object or doing squats, bend the knee no more than a safe degree (90 degrees), to prevent damage.
- Take Supplements
- Arthritis is indiscriminate. Taking Glucosamine chondroitin has proven effective in promoting healthy joint cartilage and spacing.
LOCALES OF ARTHRITIS
Arthritis is most commonly in the major and minor joints of the body. The most common and evident locales of arthritis are the knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, ankles, and along the spine, etc.