Arthritis is a degenerative disease that can eventually become disabling. If you are diagnosed with arthritis in one or more joints, you will need effective treatment strategies in order to continue living an active life.
At Northwest Extremity Specialists, our orthopedic doctors offer a range of effective treatment options, from conservative pain management to total joint replacement. There is no need to see multiple doctors as your arthritis progresses. The teams in our Portland-area clinics are prepared to manage your pain and find effective solutions to improve mobility.
Effective Treatments for Managing Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a degenerative condition that can result from an injury, aging, obesity, or heredity. Potential treatment options include:
- Medications. Your doctor might recommend or prescribe main relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids to reduce pain and inflammation. Other options include disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow the progression of joint damage.
- Physical therapy. Working with a physical therapist who specializes in arthritis pain, you might perform range-of-motion exercises to keep joints flexible and improve mobility and strengthening exercises to improve muscle strength and support the joints. In addition, your therapist or doctor might recommend low-impact exercises like swimming or cycling to reduce stress on the joints.
- Assistive devices. Sometimes, assistive devices can help people with arthritis to continue to be mobile and active. Orthotics or braces can be fit to support and stabilize the affected joint. For some people, canes or crutches can help them get around by reducing weight-bearing on the affected joint.
- Lifestyle changes. Making lifestyle changes can be difficult for many people, but certain changes can be highly effective in reducing pain and slowing the progression of arthritis. Losing weight can reduce stress on weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips, and a healthy, low-fat, low-sodium diet can reduce inflammation and improve joint health.
These non-invasive, conservative treatments can help you manage arthritis pain for many years. However, once the cartilage between bones in a joint has worn away completely, surgery might be the only option left.
Total Joint Replacement Surgery for Arthritis
Total joint replacement surgery is a common procedure used to treat arthritis of the joints. When conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes fail to provide adequate relief, total joint replacement surgery may be recommended.
During a total joint replacement surgery, the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or ceramic components. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia, and patients may stay in the hospital for several days following the surgery. After surgery, it is recommended that you:
- Follow your surgeon's post-operative instructions closely, including taking prescribed medications, monitoring your incision site for signs of infection, and attending follow-up appointments.
- Participate in a physical therapy program as recommended by your surgeon or therapist. This may include exercises to improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around the affected joint.
- Gradually increase your activity level, but avoid high-impact or strenuous activities until cleared by your surgeon or therapist.
- Make lifestyle changes to support recovery, such as eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and getting adequate rest and sleep.
- Be patient with the recovery process, as it can take several weeks or months to regain full function in the affected joint.
Total joint replacement surgery is generally considered safe and effective, with a high success rate in reducing pain and improving mobility in the affected joint. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, including infection, bleeding, and nerve damage.
If the orthopedic surgeons at Northwest Extremity Specialists believe that your best option for living an active, pain-free life is joint replacement surgery, they will review the pros and cons, explain the entire procedure, and help you make the best decision for you.
We Are Your One-Stop Shop for Arthritis Care
Because our clinics offer both podiatry and state-of-the-art orthopedic treatment, we are the ideal provider to manage your arthritis. We always start with the most conservative measures, but we are also your best option for more advanced treatment, such as joint replacement surgery. Rather than jumping from one care provider to another as your condition progresses, you can receive all levels of arthritis care at any one of our Portland-area clinics.