Arthritis

What it is Arthritis?

The bones that form your hip and knee joints are covered in cartilage providing a smooth and frictionless surface. This allows easy movement of the joint and acts to protect and cushion the ends of the bones where they meet to form a joint.

If the cartilage wears away, the underlying bones become exposed. This will lead to painful motion between the exposed bone surfaces (bone on bone arthritis). It may also lead to abnormal outgrowth of bone causing painful spurs (osteophytes).

The anatomy of a healthy knee
Anatomy of an osteoarthritic knee

Reproduced with permission from OrthoInfo. © American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The term ‘arthritis’ encompasses a wide variety of conditions. The most common forms of arthritis include:

Osteoarthritis

Being the most common form of arthritis, it is a degenerative condition which causes progressive loss of joint cartilage.

Common symptoms include:

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • instability
  • catching sensation

The cause of osteoarthritis is thought be multifactorial, including age, hereditary, weight, and overuse/occupational.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This is a chronic autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cartilage, bone and soft tissues. It causes inflammation of the joints, as well as affecting other parts of the body, such as the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Patients present with insidious onset of morning joint stiffness, pain in multiple joints, especially the hand and feet.

Post-traumatic arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that develops after a joint injury.

It develops relatively quickly after an injury, instead of a slow degenerative process, such as osteoarthritis. Symptoms are similar to that of osteoarthritis, but symptom onset can be as quick as 6 month, or as long ago as 5 years after an injury.

It is caused by injuries such as fracture, dislocation, and meniscal injury.

Watch a video on The Anatomy of the Knee and Arthritis:

Watch a video on The Anatomy of the Hip and Arthritis:

Reproduced with permission from Visual Health Solutions. © 2022 Visual Health Solutions

Treatments

Exercise

  • Stay active. Low-impact activities, such as walking, cycling and swimming will reduce the stress on your joints, and help maintain strong joints and reduce stiffness.

Weight loss

  • If you are overweight, losing just a small amount of weight can help to reduce pain and improve function.

Physiotherapy

  • Can help to improve the range of motion and strength of the joints affected by arthritis. They can also recommend braces/splints that may reduce stresses on your joints.

Steroid injection

  • Also known as cortisone injections, this is a strong anti-inflammatory medication that can help to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joint. It can be very effective, but they are not a permanent solution, and you may need repeated injections to maintain the benefits.

Medications
Paracetamol is a simple non-opioid pain medication effective in mild arthritis.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can improve pain and swelling.

Surgery

If non-surgical treatment options are no longer providing you with meaningful relief of symptoms, then surgery may be the next step.

I will guide you through this treatment journey, ensuring an authentic, patient centered approach.

Surgical treatment for arthritis include:

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Hours

9am - 5pm
Monday to Friday

Phone

03 390 0010

Location

ALEX LEE ORTHOPAEDICS
Elmwood Orthopaedics
Level 3, 11 Caledonian Road
Saint Albans, Christchurch 8014