Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (8)

Thứ hai, 06 Tháng 10 2014 17:24

Cartilage Injuries in the Knee

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(ĐTĐ) - Cartilage is the smooth, rubbery tissue that cushions the bones in the knee where they meet at the joint, minimizing friction so the knee moves easily and absorbing shock to prevent injury. When this tissue is worn away or otherwise damaged, it can cause pain and injury to the knee.
 

Thứ năm, 02 Tháng 10 2014 17:48

Knee Pain: What causes it & Best Options for Treatment

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(ĐTĐ) - Knee pain is one of the most common complaints heard by physicians. There are many possible causes for knee joint pain. It is of utmost importance that an accurate diagnosis for your knee pain is made. An accurate diagnosis is needed to ensure that proper treatment is ensued. Common causes for knee pain include:
 

Thứ hai, 29 Tháng 9 2014 17:43

How to relieve hip pain

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(ĐTĐ) - Hip pain can arise from a variety of factors. The joint is very complex system, and the hip, in particular, takes a great deal of pressure and stress. Issues with the skin, nerves, bones, blood vessels and soft tissues can all cause pain. Most often, hip pain can be managed through home treatment. However, it can sometimes indicate more serious issues.
 

Thứ hai, 22 Tháng 9 2014 18:54

What you can do about Knee pain

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(ĐTĐ) - Knee pain can have a large effect on you, whether it interferes with your mobility or not. Knees are a large and important joint, and joint pain will have a great deal of effect.
 

However, if your knee injury also causes a lessening in flexibility, it will also have a large effect on your mobility above and beyond the effect pain might have on your knee.

The causes of knee pain are often from injury, but there are also causes of pain from other causes as well. It can be brought on by physiological issues and arthritis as well.

Injuries

There are several different injuries that can cause knee pain. Again, the knee is a major joint and therefore has a role in many different kinds of movement.

This not only makes it easy to injure, but, as we’ve already mentioned, it also makes knee pain and stiffness a serious issue.

The injuries that can affect knees are injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), torn meniscus, bursitis, and patellar tendinitis. The ACL is one of four ligaments that connect shinbone to thigh.

The meniscus is the cartilage that absorbs shock between the thigh and shinbone.

Injuries can inflammation in the bursae, the sacs of fluid that smooth the movement of tendons and ligaments over bones in the knee.

Finally, the patella is the kneecap, and tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons that pass over this bone.

R.I.C.E.

You may or may not have heard of the R.I.C.E. method of pain relief. This stands for “rest, ice, compression, elevation.” It is commonly used for running injuries, which commonly affect the knee. Whatever the cause of your injury, this approach is a good first step.

Rest

The first thing to do when injury occurs, which you may do just by instinct, is to immediately stop what you’re doing, and rest your joint. Lie down and put your feet up. Pamper yourself, and place a pillow under your knee.

Chuom Da

Ice

Apply ice or cold to prevent swelling. The cold temperature will constrict blood vessels and inhibit swelling and inflammation. Keep the pack on for ten or twenty minutes, three times a day.

After 48 hours, hopefully your application of cold will have done its job of discouraging swelling, and you can start applying moist heat instead.

You should also start doing some mild exercise to encourage circulation and flexibility in the joint.

Compression

The “C” in R.I.C.E. stands for compression. This means that you need to wrap the joint. This is usually done with an elastic bandage like a Tensor bandage or Ace wrap.

Make sure not to wrap too tightly, since this can also cause more swelling.

If there is numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness or swelling below the bandage, then it’s been wrapped too tightly.

It’s also important to realize that this compression will not stabilize or support your joint. In practical terms, it just means that compression shouldn’t make you careless about using your knee.

Elevation

While you are resting, make sure to elevate your knee. Continue doing this after your initial rest, and anytime you are sitting or lying down, it will be worthwhile to keep the joint above the level of your heart. Like ice, this limits blood flow and therefore inflammation and swelling in the area.

Exercises

It is important that after your initial rest, you start to gently get the joint moving again, so that you can maintain and encourage flexibility in the joint.

However, it is also very important that you are careful to make this gentle, since you don’t want to be injuring the joint further through the exercises you choose.

Hamstring stretch

Lie on your back in a doorway, with one leg through the open door.

Slide your leg up the wall to straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for at least 1 minute. Do this 2 to 4 times with each leg. Slowly work up to holding the stretch for six minutes on each side.

Knee to Chest

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

Bring one knee to your chest, and keep your foot flat on the floor. If it’s comfortable, you can increase your stretch by keeping your whole leg stretched out on the floor. Just make sure that, whichever position you take, you can still press your back into the floor. Hold the position for between 15 and 30 seconds. Do this 2 to 4 times on each leg.

Painkillers

There are several over-the-counter painkillers that you can take, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. The most important of these is ibuprofen, but it also includes aspirin. You will just need to be careful using aspirin with children under the age of 18.

You can also use Tylenol or other forms of acetaminophen. Just be careful with any of these drugs to make sure you read and follow the label for dosage. While acetaminophen is very safe, it is extremely easy to take too much, especially if you are in ongoing pain.

Other treatments

Other things you can do are use a cane or crutch in your opposite hand to ensure you don’t put more stress on the joint. You can also use two crutches and just use one leg to move forward. You can buy canes and crutches from pharmacies or medical supply stores.

Gently massage the joint to relieve pain and stiffness in the area. However, if this causes any pain, refrain from doing it.

While you need to exercise the joint, refrain from doing any high-impact exercises that involve bouncing or rapid changes in direction.

Symptoms to watch for

Call a doctor if you notice any signs of infection or if your knee remains swollen after 48 hours. Causes for concern also include if your knee, leg or foot becomes pale and cool to the touch. It’s important that you recognize when home treatment has run the course and it’s time to call a health care professional.

Source Chronicbodypain.net
Thứ tư, 26 Tháng 2 2014 16:27

Caring for Your Joints at Home

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(ĐTĐ) - Just as the tread on your tires wears away over time, the cartilage that cushions your joints can wear away, too, in a condition known as osteoarthritis. And without enough cushioning, the bones of a joint will hurt when they rub against each other.
 

Frayed cartilage can't heal or grow back. "There's no way to reverse the arthritis once it has started," says Michaela M. Schneiderbauer, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. But there are ways to reduce the pain and protect the cartilage you still have. Use these tips to slow the damage.

1. Slim down if you're overweight. Shedding pounds takes stress off weight-bearing joints like the knee and hip. Every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off the knee. That could reduce the wear and tear in the joint, Schneiderbauer says. "You may actually slow the progress of arthritis if you lose a significant amount of weight."

What's 'significant'? "Every 10 pounds you lose will reduce pain by 20%," says Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, of Rush University Medical Center.

2. Do aerobic exercise. Arthritis pain may make you reluctant to exercise. But research shows that being inactive makes the pain and stiffness worse. Regular aerobic exercise boosts blood flow, which keeps cartilage well nourished. It can also help you reach a healthy weight.

"Stay as active as you can tolerate," Schneiderbauer says. "But avoid high-impact activities, like jumping and running." Better choices include walking, cycling, and swimming. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. Be sure to check with your doctor before you start.

3. Build strength. Strong muscles can absorb some of the shock that normally goes through a joint during everyday activities, Bush-Joseph says. "A strong muscle will prevent a limb from slapping down on the pavement and jarring the joint."

Focus on building up the muscles surrounding an arthritic joint. To improve symptoms in the knee, for example, strengthen the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh. A physical therapist or personal trainer with experience in working with people with arthritis can show you exercises that will help.

4. Stretch every day. Stretching increases a joint's range of motion. This not only fights stiffness, but also helps protect the cartilage from further wear and tear. "The more joints move, the more the cartilage gets nourished by the joint fluid," Bush-Joseph says. He recommends yoga or Pilates to keep the joints moving and improve flexibility. "Don't feel like you have to be perfect in class. Instructors will accommodate people with limitations."

5. Try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Glucosamine and chondroitin may protect your cartilage. There is no proof that either supplement will rebuild cartilage or slow the progression of arthritis. But some studies suggest they can reduce arthritis pain.

6. Use over-the-counter pain relievers for flare-ups. Over-the-counter pain relievers include naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Make sure to read the label and take them only as directed.

Over-the-counter pain relievers are a good choice for short-term relief during flare-ups of arthritis pain, Schneiderbauer says. If you think you need a daily pain reliever, talk to your doctor to see which one is right for you. "If you end up taking it for months or years, it may be time to think about joint replacement surgery."

7. Ask your doctor about hyaluronan injections. Hyaluronan works like the fluid that surrounds the joints in your body. It acts as a lubricant and shock absorber for the joints. If over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help your pain, hyaluronan injections may help.

MDSource WebMD.com 
Thứ năm, 28 Tháng 11 2013 20:56

Joint Replacement: Risks vs. Benefits

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(ĐTĐ) - After a skiing injury 30 years ago, Bert Pepper, MD, got osteoarthritis in his left knee. "I stopped skiing and gave up tennis, running, and other sports that are tough on the knee," he says. "I turned to speed-walking to stay fit, but the knee kept me from walking at a good pace."
 

As his pain got worse and walking became harder, he looked into having a knee replacement. It's not a decision to make lightly, says Pepper, who is a psychiatrist. "It's a major life event. You have to be prepared to lose a few months to pain after surgery, limited mobility, and vigorous rehabilitation." And like any surgery, it's important to weigh the risks and benefits carefully.

Benefits

"There are two main reasons to have a joint replacement," says Charles Bush-Joseph, MD, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center. "The best reason is pain relief."

During a hip or knee replacement, a surgeon removes the painful, damaged surfaces of the joint and replaces them with plastic or metal implants. This gets rid of the pain, because the diseased cartilage and bone are no longer there.

The second reason is to improve joint function, Bush-Joseph says, but these results are less predictable. After a joint replacement, many people can walk more easily. Some may be able to ride a bike or play golf. But there are no guarantees.

Risks

Joint replacements carry the same risks as other major surgeries. This includes the risk of dangerous infections or blood clots. People with heart conditions, poorly controlled diabetes, or weak immune systems are the most vulnerable. Surgeons use antibiotics and blood thinners to try to prevent some complications.

The other major risk is that the new joint may not work as well as hoped. Weakness and stiffness are common problems, particularly in the knee. "Patients who don't actively rehabilitate will not regain the maximum range of motion," Bush-Joseph tells WebMD. For best results, knee surgery patients should stick to their rehab schedule of exercise, rest, and medicines.

Less common problems include an implant that becomes loose or dislocates. And it's important to know the implant could wear out after about 20 years. That means you may need another joint replacement down the road.

Is Joint Replacement for You?

Joint replacement may be the right choice if you're in a lot of pain and other treatments haven't helped enough. But you want to be sure the joint is the true source of pain, says Michaela M. Schneiderbauer, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "The source could be something other than the joint itself, even if arthritis is visible on an MRI."

If you actually have nerve or muscle pain, a joint replacement won't help, Schneiderbauer says. Your doctor can tell the difference by doing a careful physical exam and by asking you questions about your pain. "Be cautious if a doctor tells you you need a hip or knee replacement without doing a physical exam," she adds.

Realistic Expectations

A joint replacement can cure pain, but it can't restore the hip or knee you had when you were younger. People shouldn't expect to move the joint the way they did 20 or 30 years ago, Schneiderbauer says.

As for Pepper, he went forward with his knee replacement. After four months of intense rehabilitation, the pain was gone. He's back to speed-walking and climbs 100 steps every day to keep his knee strong. On a recent vacation to Italy and Croatia, he wore a pedometer. "There were times when I comfortably walked 7 miles in a day," he says. "It feels like my knee now."

Pepper's advice: Consider a joint replacement "if pain is interfering with how you want to live your life."

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD - Source WebMD.com 
Thứ bảy, 16 Tháng 11 2013 18:57

6 Ways to Ruin Your Knees

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(ĐTĐ) - Rachel "Iron Maiven" Piplica Whether you're a seasoned athlete, a weekend warrior, or totally laid-back when it comes to exercise, knowing how to protect your knees from damage can mean the difference between a fulfilling lifestyle and longterm, strained mobility.
 

Cruising on the track in the heat of a roller derby match, 27-year-old Rachel Piplica was not at all prepared for the realization that her knee could sideline her from competitive skating for months, possibly years.

"Suddenly, I heard a pop and it felt like my knee bent sideways. The pain was so bad I just fell and crawled away," Piplica tells WebMD.

The Los Angeles fashion designer who skates under the name Iron Maiven tried to keep going. "I took one more stride and my knee just let go again. The doctor immediately said, 'I think you tore your ACL.'"

Piplica had experienced some warning signs during her previous season of skating as captain of her team, but she ignored them for the most part. "I had tremendous pain in my leg anytime I'd squat down so I just kept my right leg straight. But I never saw a doctor for it. I just assumed, 'I'm in a contact sport and this is what happens,'” she tells WebMD.

Knee deep: A complex and vulnerable joint

Her torn ACL diagnosis confirmed, Piplica quickly learned how susceptible the knees can be to injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, these joints are responsible for sending nearly 15 million Americans to the doctor every year.

And it's not just athletes who suffer. Knee problems can happen to anyone.

"Because they're the main hinge between the ground and the rest of your body, the knees serve as your 'wheels' that get you around and allow you to be active,” says University of Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Nicholas DiNubile, MD. "Life can really go downhill when you damage your knees,” says DiNubile, who is a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and author of FrameWork - Your 7-Step Program for Healthy Muscles, Bones and Joints.

Bound by an intricate system of ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscle, the knee is highly prone to injury. It's a complex hinge where the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), fibula (next to tibia) and kneecap all come together.

"It's hard to find the right balance between mobility and stability; the knee needs to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot too,” DiNubile says. The knee's ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell up, osteoarthritis can take hold, and even everyday wear and tear can ruin a perfectly good set of knees.

Here are six pitfalls you can avoid to save your knees.

1. Ignoring knee pain.

An occasional ache here and there is common. "But knowing when you can and can't ignore pain is key,” says sports medicine specialist Jordan Metzl, MD, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Metzl's rule of thumb: When the pain limits your ability to do what you normally do, you need to have it checked out.

"If your body is sending you signals, you need to listen to them. If they persist, you need to have it checked out,” he tells WebMD.

For Piplica, exploratory surgery revealed a torn meniscus she had endured in the past -- unbeknownst to her -- followed by the more recent ACL tear.

"In hindsight, maybe that first injury could have been repaired earlier, although I don't know if I could have avoided this one altogether,” she says. "At least I would have been more careful."

2. Being overweight.

Every pound of body weight yields five pounds of force on the knee, so even 10 extra pounds can put a considerable load on those joints.

Being overweight also increases your chances of osteoarthritis in the knee, a common and often disabling form of arthritis that wears away the knee's cushiony cartilage. Excess pounds also cause existing arthritis to worsen more rapidly. According to the CDC, two out of three obese adults suffer from knee osteoarthritis at some time in their life.

Although diet and exercise are critical for weight loss, it's a double-edged sword.

"If your knees hurt, it's harder to lose weight through exercise,” says Metzl. So he recommends activities that go easy on the knee.

For example, opt for a stationary bike over running on the treadmill, and walk on a flat surface instead of hilly turf. If you're a die-hard treadmill fan, then go for longer sessions of walking punched with brief intervals of brisk walking or running every three to five minutes, DiNubile says.

3. Not following through with rehab and rest.

The rest and rehabilitation period after a knee injury is critical to avoiding future pain or reinjury. Depending on the type of damage and treatment, recovery could last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.

"During the rehab period, you need someone to help you tell the difference between something that just hurts, and something that's going to do you harm,” says DiNubile.

He tells WebMD that many of his young athlete patients are too eager to return to regular play as soon as they stop limping. He advises patients to work with an orthopedic surgeon, a sports medicine physician, a physical therapist, an athletic trainer, or some combination of these pros, in order to ensure proper focus is placed on gradually strengthening the knees.

4. Neglecting your ACL.

One of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is responsible for about 150,000 injuries in the U.S. every year.

As Piplica learned firsthand, sports like roller derby that involve quick cuts, twists, and jumping, put the ACL at higher risk for rupturing. More traditional high-risk sports include soccer, basketball, football, and volleyball.

Women in particular have a two- to eight-times higher risk for ACL tears compared to men, mainly because the way women naturally jump, land, and turn puts greater strain on the ACL.

However, male and female athletes alike can be trained to "rewire” themselves and thus lower risks of knee injury. That's done through neuromuscular training, which involves supervised practice in improving agility, leg strength, and jump-landing techniques for better knee joint stability.

These specialized techniques are effective in reducing risks of knee injury by almost one-half, according to a 2010 review of seven neuromuscular training studies.

"Given what we know in how useful it can be in reducing ACL tears, it's irresponsible of coaches and parents to not require athletes to undergo neuromuscular training,” says DiNubile.

He recommends that athletes of any age who play ACL risk-prone sports should seek help from an athletic trainer or other trained professional to help avoid this debilitating injury.

5. Overdoing it.

"You make gains in fitness when you work hard and then allow your body to recover. You can't do a hard workout every day," Metzl says.

A sudden increase in intensity or duration of exercise can cause overuse injuries from repetitive strain. Tendonitis and kneecap pain are common symptoms in the knee.

Pushing too hard is also related to overtraining syndrome, a physiological and psychological condition among athletes in which they exceed their ability to perform and recover from physical exertion, often leading to injury or lowered performance.

Be sure to include stretching exercises before and after working out. And follow hard training days with easy ones so your body can recover.

6. Overlooking other muscles around the knees.

Weak muscles and lack of flexibility are primary causes of knee injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. When the muscles around the kneecap, hip, and pelvis are strong, it keeps the knee stable and balanced, providing support by absorbing some of the stress exerted on the joint.

DiNubile stresses the importance of building the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, as well as proper strengthening of the body's core muscles, including the obliques, lower back muscles, and upper thigh.

His favorite tool to help accomplish this strengthening is a Swiss medicine ball. Other exercises to try are knee extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses, and flexibility exercises.

Piplica recalls realizing just how weak some of her leg muscles were.

"Roller girls are striding out so much with their outer leg muscles, but we aren't necessarily working our inner knees," she says. "I remember when I would run for exercise, my calves and shins would hurt so bad. That surprised me, because I thought if anything was strong, it was my legs.”

Piplica says she wishes she had been better educated about crosstraining activities for roller skaters, and what muscle groups they need to focus on to keep their knees healthy.

As she awaits surgery to repair her torn ACL, Piplica tells WebMD that her perspective on long-term care for her knees has definitely changed.

"Half of me is frustrated about not being able to skate sooner, but the other half knows how important it is to get better so I don't do this again. I'm 27 years old with a serious knee injury preventing me from moving around. So I need to look beyond just skating, skating, skating. I don't want to have knee problems when I'm 40 or 50 because I'm not giving my body the kind of attention it needs right now."

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD - Source WebMD.com
Thứ hai, 13 Tháng 9 2010 20:27

Osteoarthritis

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(ĐTĐ) - Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It is associated with the breakdown of a joint's cartilage. Cartilage is a firm, rubbery material that covers and cushions the ends of bones in normal joints. Its main function is to reduce friction in the joints and serve as a "shock absorber."

 

Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in a joint to become stiff and lose its elasticity, making it more susceptible to damage. Over time, the cartilage may wear away in some areas, greatly decreasing its ability to act as a shock absorber. As the cartilage wears away, tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain. If the condition worsens, the bones could rub against each other, causing even more pain and loss of movement.

OA is most common in middle-aged and older people, and its symptoms can range from very mild to very severe. The disorder most often affects hands and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, feet and the back, but can affect almost any joint in the body. Women are more commonly affected than men.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Joint aching and soreness, especially with movement

  • Pain after overuse or after long periods of inactivity

  • Bony enlargements in the middle and end joints of the fingers. These enlargements may or may not be painful.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

There are many factors that can increase a persons chance of developing OA, including:

  • Obesity. Maintaining an ideal weight or losing excess weight may help prevent osteoarthritis of the knees and hips. Weight loss or maintenance also can decrease OAs rate of progression once the disease is established.

  • Injury. People with joint injuries due to sports, work-related activity, or accidents may be at increased risk of developing OA. For example, athletes with knee-related injuries may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition, people who have had a severe back injury may be predisposed to develop osteoarthritis of the spine. People who have had a broken bone near a joint are prone to develop osteoarthritis in that joint.

  • Heredity. Some people have an inherited defect in one of the genes responsible for making cartilage. This causes defective cartilage, which leads to more rapid deterioration of joints. People born with joint abnormalities are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, and those born with an abnormality of the spine (such as scoliosis, a curvature of the spine) are more likely to develop osteoarthritis of the spine.

  • Joint Overuse. Overuse of certain joints increases the risk of developing OA. For example, people in jobs requiring repeated bending of the knee are at increased risk for developing OA of the knee.

  • Age. Although age is a risk factor, research has shown that OA is not an inevitable part of aging.

Diagnosing Osteoarthritis

Doctors make a diagnosis of OA based on a physical exam and history of symptoms. The diagnosis of osteoarthritis is based on a combination of the following factors:

  • A description of symptoms

  • The location and pattern of pain

  • Certain findings in a physical examination

X-rays may be used to confirm a diagnosis and to make sure that no other type of arthritis is present. Most people over age 60 reflect the disease on X-ray; about a third of patients have actual symptoms.

Sometimes blood tests are administered. While blood tests cannot point to anything in particular that can help a doctor confirm the presence of OA, the tests can help the doctor determine the presence of a different type of arthritis.

If fluid has accumulated in the body's joints, the doctor may remove some of the fluid with a process called joint aspiration and may examine the fluid under a microscope to rule out other diseases.

Treatment Options

The treatment of OA focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement. The following treatments are available.

  • Over the counter pain-relieving medications: These including acetaminophen (Tylenol, for example) and painkillers (often called NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Some medications in the form of creams, rubs, or sprays may be applied over the skin of affected areas to relieve pain.

  • Synvisc, Supartz and Hyalgan: These medications can be given as a series of three to five weekly injections to relieve pain in some people with osteoarthritis.

  • Narcotics: Stronger pain pills, such as narcotics, may be prescribed when osteoarthritis pain is severe and other treatments are not working.

  • Joint protection devices: These can prevent strain or stress on painful joints.

  • Hot or cold compresses: These treatments may be given in the form of a hot shower or bath, or by applying heating pads or cold compresses.

  • Surgery: When other treatment options have failed, some people may need surgery to relieve chronic pain in damaged joints.

  • Weight control: Losing weight can prevent extra stress on weight-bearing joints.

  • Exercise: Physical activity can improve joint movement and strengthen the muscles that surround the joints. Gentle exercises, such as swimming or walking on flat surfaces, are recommended because they create less stress on joints. Activities that increase joint pain (jogging, high-impact aerobics, etc.) should be avoided.

  • Alternative Therapy: Acupuncture and bioelectric therapy may be able to provide some pain relief. Some medical research has shown that the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin can relieve pain in some people with osteoarthritis, especially in the knee. In addition, there is evidence that these supplements can help rebuild some cartilage. Some people also use methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) for arthritis, but there is less medical evidence showing its benefits. MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur that is taken as a dietary supplement.

How Does Weight and Exercise Impact Osteoarthritis?

Staying at your recommended weight helps prevent osteoarthritis of the knees, reduces the stress on weight-bearing joints and reduces pain in affected joints. Once you have osteoarthritis, losing weight also can relieve the stress and pain in your knees.

Exercise is important to improve joint movement and to strengthen the muscles that surround the joints. Gentle exercises, such as swimming or walking on flat surfaces, are recommended because they are less stressful on your joints. Avoid activities that increase joint pain, such as jogging or high impact aerobics. Exercises that strengthen the quadriceps muscle reduce knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.

Are There Alternative Treatments for Osteoarthritis?

Some medical research has shown that the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin may relieve pain in some people with osteoarthritis -- especially in the knee. There is no evidence that glucosamine can help rebuild cartilage.

Some people also use methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) and S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) for arthritis but there is questionable medical evidence showing their benefits. MSM is a naturally occurring compound that is taken as a dietary supplement.

Acupuncture and bioelectric therapy also may be useful at relieving pain.

What Supportive Devices Are Available to Help With Osteoarthritis?

Supportive or assistive devices may be helpful to decrease pressure on the joints with osteoarthritis. Knee supports may be helpful for some people to stabilize the ligaments and tendons and decrease pain. Canes or crutches may be helpful to take pressure off certain joints.

In addition to pain relief, assistive devices improve function and prevent falls. A licensed physical therapist or other health care professional is needed to recommend what devices are best for you.

Is There a Surgery for Osteoarthritis?

When osteoarthritis pain is not controlled with medications and the other mentioned treatments, or when the pain prevents you from participating in your normal activities, you may want to consider surgery.

There are several types of surgery for osteoarthritis. They include:

  • Arthroscopy to clean out the damaged cartilage has not been proven in recent studies to be effective for osteoarthritis.

  • Joint replacement surgery to replace the damaged joint with an artificial one. Joint replacement surgery should be considered when the severity of the joint pain significantly interferes with a person’s function and quality of life. Even under the best of circumstances, surgery cannot return the joint to its normal state (artificial joints do not have all of the motion of a normal joint). However, an artificial joint will diminish pain. The two joints most often replaced are the hip joint and the knee joint. Artificial joints are now also available to replace shoulders, fingers, elbows, ankles, and back joints to treat severe pain that has not responded to other treatments.

  • Joint fusion removes the damaged joint and fuses the two bones on each side of the joint. This is done more often in areas in which joint replacement is not effective.

Talk to your doctor to determine if any of these treatment options are right for you.

Source WemMD.com

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