The latest figures say that about 23% of all American adults have arthritis and nearly half of them have to limit their activities due to their arthritis-related pain and stiffness. Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., encourages you to come in for an evaluation at the first sign of joint pain. Early treatment can help slow disease progression and keep you active and healthy. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Tarzana, California, or use the online booking feature.
Many patients don’t realize that there are more than 100 forms of arthritis. They all have one thing in common — they cause joint inflammation — otherwise, each one has its own unique qualities.
The two most common types of arthritis are:
Osteoarthritis develops from years of daily wear-and-tear that gradually damages articular cartilage. This type of cartilage is found on the ends of bones inside joints, where it allows the bones to move smoothly.
As the cartilage breaks down, bone rubs against bone, and you end up with pain, stiffness, and limited movement. Over time, osteoarthritis causes inflammation and bone spurs, which worsen your pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks tissues lining the joints. As a result, the tissues become inflamed and swollen, causing pain and stiffness. Ongoing inflammation eventually erodes the bones, leading to deformities.
Rheumatoid arthritis develops in the same joint on both sides of your body. It can also spread beyond the joint, causing inflammation and illness throughout your body. By comparison, osteoarthritis stays in the joint and may appear on one side of your body.
It’s estimated that 12% of all cases of osteoarthritis develop after a joint injury, a condition that’s called post-traumatic arthritis. Many cases of post-traumatic arthritis heal, but if the trauma persists for six months, it becomes chronic osteoarthritis.
Dr. Fink may perform diagnostic imaging such as X-rays and ultrasound, which are available in the office, to get a complete look at the degenerative changes in your affected joint.
The goal of arthritis treatment is to relieve your pain, help you maintain function in the joint, and prevent disease progression as much as possible. However, your individual treatment is based on the type of arthritis and the severity of your symptoms.
Despite your pain and stiffness, it’s important to keep moving the joint, balancing gentle activity with rest to ensure you don’t over-stress the joint. Dr. Fink may recommend exercises or suggest physical therapy. Exercise helps reduce inflammation and maintain range of motion.
Although there aren’t any medications that target osteoarthritis, prescription medications are available for rheumatoid arthritis that can stop progression and help keep the disease in remission. Dr. Fink may recommend topical medications like capsaicin or NSAIDs to relieve pain.
When you have joint pain and stiffness, call Samuel I. Fink, MD, Inc., or book an appointment online to receive ongoing treatment.