Arthritis is a crippling and widespread disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 52 million Americans over the age of 18 have been diagnosed. Arthritis targets the joints, but there are a number of conditions that fall under its umbrella.
Osteoarthritis is perhaps the most common form of arthritis, especially in older adults. Over time, the cushioning inside the joints begins to wear down, and the bones rub together and become painful. Sports injuries such as ligament tears can increase joint erosion and cause arthritis to set in more quickly.
Ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, and other major joints are susceptible to arthritis. Even if the joint hasn’t been injured, basic wear and tear and overuse can result in development of arthritis over time.
Arthritis can often be treated with surgery but only after medication and other treatments have failed. It may seem extreme, but joint replacements can significantly improve the quality of life for patients who are limited by their arthritis.
Total joint replacements aren’t the only surgical option for arthritis patients, though. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are a number of procedures that can improve arthritis symptoms. Surgeons can remove diseased or damaged joint lining, realign the joints, or fuse the ends of bones together to relieve pain.
As the joint is repaired or replaced, the stress is greatly reduced. Orthopaedic surgical procedures can also improve range of motion and significantly reduce pain in arthritis patients, especially if the disease is advanced.
The AAOS notes that there is presently no cure for arthritis. A number of studies have been conducted examining treatments for the disease, but surgical procedures are among the most effective for people with severe arthritis.
If you’re unable to run with the kids or participate in your favorite activities, surgery could be your best option for relief. There isn’t a “one size fits all” fix, but an expert orthopaedic surgeon may be able to provide you with pain relief and improved mobility.
These procedures do not come without risk but often the benefits of orthopaedic surgery outweigh patients’ concerns. Consult your doctor to determine if surgery is the right treatment for your arthritis pain.