An Overview of the Most Common Types of Arthritis that Orthopedic Doctors Treat
When discussing the subject of arthritis, most people think of the pain, stiffness, and swelling that affects the joints. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 24% of all adults have some form of arthritis. It also happens to be the most common condition among those filing for work disability.
Considering how common arthritis is, it comes as no surprise orthopedic doctors work with many patients who are suffering with this condition. However, there is no cure for arthritis. Even the top orthopedic doctors in the country can’t make the condition completely go away. Treating arthritis is about mitigating the symptoms and affording the patient as much comfort and range of motion as possible.
To provide some additional insight, the following are the most common types of arthritis that cause orthopedic issues. Once we’ve covered that, you’ll learn how to find the top orthopedic doctors near you in Wichita.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis that orthopedic doctors treat. When the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones deteriorates, it results in bone rubbing against bone during movement, causing symptoms such as:
- Joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness
- Reduced joint mobility
- A sensation of friction or grinding when moving the joint
- Bone spurs
Osteoarthritis generally occurs in the hands, spine, hips, or knees. Patients who are experiencing chronic joint pain or stiffness are encouraged to contact an orthopedic doctor who specializes in the area of the body that’s affected. For instance, those who are experiencing osteoarthritis in the knee should contact an orthopedic knee doctor.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious varieties of arthritis a patient can be afflicted with. This autoimmune disease develops when the immune system ceases to protect the body and begins attacking healthy joint tissues. Specifically, the disease targets the joint lining, which will eventually lead to joint deformity and bone erosion. The most common signs of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Joints that are swollen, tender or warm to the touch, usually symmetrical on the body (i.e. both knees, both hands)
- Ongoing joint stiffness that’s most intense in the morning
- Loss of appetite
According to recent statistics, approximately 40% of people who have rheumatoid arthritis will experience health issues that don’t involve their joints. The areas that may potentially be impacted include the eyes, heart, lungs, and kidneys, just to name a few.
When dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, it’s imperative to get medical attention as soon as possible. Because there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the best course of action is to mitigate the symptoms and spread of the disease by making an appointment with a rheumatologist. Patients may also need to reach out to an orthopedic doctor if they experience ongoing swelling or discomfort in the joints.
This variety of arthritis typically affects young adults with the HLA-B27 gene. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disease that causes the vertebrae of the spine to fuse together, resulting in far less flexibility. Other symptoms include:
- Back and neck pain
- Stiffness in lower back and hips
Severe cases of ankylosing spondylitis can result in eye inflammation, compression fractures, and heart problems. Patients should get in touch with a rheumatologist and an orthopedic doctor at the first signs of ongoing pain in the low back region.
Those who have high levels of uric acid in their blood are at the highest risk of developing gout, which is a condition caused by a buildup of uric crystals in the joint. Gout usually affects the big toe, but the condition has the potential to occur in other joints of the body. Symptoms of gout include:
- Extreme joint pain
- Ongoing discomfort
- Redness and inflammation
- Reduced range of motion
If left untreated, gout can advance into more severe conditions and may result in joint damage. Gout, like other forms of inflammatory arthritis, requires care from a rheumatologist. But patients should get in touch with an orthopedic doctor to help correct joint damage.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
This variety of arthritis typically affects children who are 16 or younger. It occurs when the immune system attacks the tissues and cells of the patient. The most common symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis include:
- Ongoing joint pain
- Swelling and/or stiffness
- Swollen lymph nodes
Advanced cases of juvenile idiopathic arthritis may result in bone development issues and eye problems such as glaucoma, inflammation, or cataracts. Parents should take their child to see an orthopedic doctor if they experience pain and/or stiffness for more than a week.
Those who are afflicted with psoriasis are at the highest risk of developing psoriatic arthritis, which occurs when the body’s immune system begins attacking its own tissue and healthy cells. The most common symptoms of psoriatic arthritis include:
- Swollen toes and/or fingers
- Pain in the heel or sole of the foot
- Lower back pain
- Nail abnormalities, crumbling, and pits
- Blurry vision, eye redness, and eye pain
Get in touch with an orthopedic doctor if you currently have psoriasis and suddenly develop joint pain. Untreated cases of psoriatic arthritis can become arthritis mutilans, which is a painful, potentially disabling condition.
How to Speak with Top Orthopedic Doctors About Arthritis
Those who are suffering with painful, swollen joints, or who are experiencing reduced mobility shouldn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that they have arthritis. It’s entirely possible a different medical condition is what’s causing those symptoms, including an orthopedic injury.
The best course of action is to contact an orthopedic doctor near you. If your condition is related to athletics or exercise, it’s recommended to reach out to a sports orthopedic doctor who specializes in sports medicine.
Once an orthopedic doctor has collected your medical history and performed an examination, they will be able to provide a diagnosis. If it turns out you are experiencing a form of arthritis, they will put you on a treatment plan that helps mitigate your symptoms so you can live pain-free.