What is arthritis?

Arthritis affects the joints. It usually causes swelling, tenderness and stiffness. It often gets worse as you age as the cartilage, the slippery tissue between bones, breaks down.

Although there are different types of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to the typical wear and tear of a joint over time. Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the membrane enclosing your joints.

How can an orthopedic doctor help?

You might be hesitant to visit an orthopedic surgeon if you’re suffering from arthritis. But they do more than just surgeries. In fact, orthopedic surgeons are trained in all kinds of arthritis treatments. That means everything from the most conservative approaches to actual surgery.

Here are different treatment options.

The first step – conservative

Starting with a noninvasive approach could help alleviate some patients’ aches and pains. Here are some methods an orthopedic doctor might try.

  • Physical therapy
  • Using a brace, if possible
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Different supplements

The earlier you start with these approaches, the longer they could be effective.

The next step – moderate

If the conservative methods lose their effectiveness, there are still other treatment options before surgery.

  • Cortisone injections
  • Hyaluronic acid injections
  • Occupational therapy

These injections can last for a few months, giving the patient much-needed relief.

The final step

Usually, the last option after trying all of these methods is surgery. If you don’t see any improvement in your pain or inflammation after trying some of these other treatments, surgery could be a good step toward lasting relief.

Individualized arthritis care

Don’t keep dealing with constant aches and pains. There are many treatment plans available to help alleviate your suffering. The experienced doctors and staff at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine will set you up with an individual care plan based on your needs. Looking for more information? Contact us to set up an appointment.