The Approach to Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and can affect one or more joints. Arthritis is the result of breakdown or damage to the articular cartilage of the joint. Articular cartilage is a smooth protective lining located on the ends of bones. Articular cartilage allows bones of the joints to glide smoothly during motion. The primary symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, swelling and stiffness. These symptoms typically worsen with age. In the field of orthopaedics and sports medicine, physicians routinely treat patients with osteoarthritis.

Conservative treatment for arthritis aims to control pain, minimize joint damage, and improve or maintain function and quality of daily life. Common treatment may involve medications, physical therapy, bracing, patient education, and weight loss. Many times, conservative treatment does not relieve pain and other related symptoms and patients request surgical intervention. Many patients with arthritis, not controlled with conservative treatment, often elect to have surgical intervention.

Common surgeries performed to treat arthritis are arthroscopic debridement, microfracture, biological cartilage restoration procedures, partial and total joint replacement surgery. In joint replacement surgery, the damaged portions of the bones are replaced with metal and plastic implants to mimic the natural function of the joint.

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