Osteoarthritis Paramus, NJ
Treat Your Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases, but the basic definition is inflammation of the joints. At the Hartzband Center our focus is on conditions affecting the hips and knees, so we primarily address osteoarthritis, commonly known as “wear and tear arthritis.” Because these joints come into play on most movements, when osteoarthritis becomes established it can be very painful, and not just during more intensive usage. Our goal is to address and remedy the pain with a variety of treatments ranging from patient education to conservative alternatives to joint replacement. We strive to stay at the forefront for new techniques (especially minimally invasive options) and technology to best serve our patients.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it involves the breakdown of cartilage in joints. While osteoarthritis can occur in most of the joints in the body, it is most common in the weight-bearing joints: the hips, knees, and spine. Osteoarthritis does not usually affect other joints unless there was a previous injury, excessive stress on the joint, or a problem with the cartilage in the joint. At Hartzband, we focus on osteoarthritis in the hips and knees.
The deterioration of the cartilage is how osteoarthritis differs from other forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery material that covers the ends of the bones in our joints. Its job is to act as a shock absorber, reducing impact and friction in the joints. Cartilage can provide these benefits because it is able to change shape when compressed, becoming flattened or pressed together.
When a person has osteoarthritis, the cartilage in a joint such as the hip becomes stiff and loses its elasticity. This makes the cartilage more prone to damage and wear. As it wears over time, the shock absorbing benefits of the cartilage decrease. Now tendons and ligaments stretch, causing pain. And in more exaggerated situations, the bones can begin to rub against each other.
Who is at risk of developing osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is just one more thing we can blame on aging. It affects an estimated 27 million Americans, and most people over the age of 60 have it to some degree. It can show itself as something as simple as a “stiff” hip, or it can be much more involved causing chronic pain. Younger people in their 20s and 30s can get osteoarthritis, but it is usually the result of a joint injury or repetitive joint stress from overuse. It is more common in women than men in those over the age of 50.
What causes osteoarthritis?
Different things can make a person more apt to develop osteoarthritis, some we can do something about, others not so much.
Obesity — Obesity increase the risk for osteoarthritis in the knees, hips, and spine due to simple physics. The increased load on these joints due to the excess weight creates more damage over time. Losing the weight can slow the progression once osteoarthritis is established.
Joint overuse — Overuse of certain joints increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis. If a person has to continually bend his or her knees in their job, for instance, there is an increased risk of osteoarthritis.
Injury — Past injuries play a big role in developing osteoarthritis. If a football player has injured his knee, he will be at a higher risk for developing osteoarthritis in that joint. Similarly, heavy impact sports such as gymnastics can make its participants much more likely to have future issues with their knees, hips, and spine.
Heredity — Some people are born with defective cartilage due to a genetic deficiency. This will lead to more rapid deterioration in the joints. The same holds true for people born with joint abnormalities.
Other diseases — People with rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common form of arthritis, are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Certain other diseases can also increase the chances.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of osteoarthritis vary greatly from patient to patient. Some patients become quite debilitated by their symptoms, while others may have few symptoms despite dramatic degeneration of the cartilage in the joint. In the knees, osteoarthritis can lead to a limp that worsens over time. Osteoarthritis in the knees is one of the most common reasons for knee replacements in the U.S.
Patients usually develop the following symptoms of osteoarthritis over time. They include:
- Pain after activity, particularly overuse, involving the joint
- Joint aching and soreness, especially with certain movements
- Stiffness after periods of inactivity
- The development of bony enlargements of the small joints of the fingers
- Joint swelling
What are the treatments for osteoarthritis?
At Hartzband we try a variety of treatment methods before we even consider any replacement surgery on the knees or hips. The goals of these treatments are to relieve pain, increase mobility, and restore quality of life. Short of surgery, these are the treatments we try:
- Weight loss for obese patients
- Exercise to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints
- Medications (anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Creams or gels with ingredients such as capsaicin
- Joint injections such as cortisone
- Hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring lubricant in the body) injections
- Assistive devices such as orthotics, canes, or braces
If the pain in the hip or knee joints is severe and other treatments don’t seem to be providing relief, replacement of the joint may be recommended. At Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement, we are experts with the spectrum of available hip and knee replacement surgeries. Although traditional replacement of both joints has involved very long incisions, every day new methods requiring much shorter incisions are being developed. Plus, the lifespan of the available appliances is expanding. We may only need to do a partial replacement, or in the hips, maybe hip resurfacing arthroplasty will be a good alternative. We have many options at our disposal. In the course of our consultations with you we will discuss all of your options.
Treat your osteoarthritis pain! Visit Hartzband Center for Hip & Knee Replacement in Paramus, New Jersey to begin your treatment process. Call (201) 291-4040 to schedule your consultation today. You can also read more on osteoarthritis and our other services on our blog.