Recognizing the Early Signs of Arthritis

Twenty-three percent of all Americans experience arthritis.  This condition is an inflammation of the joints that often results in pain and stiffness. It breaks down the cartilage that helps joints bend and move smoothly. The effects of arthritis generally worsen with age.

Early signs of arthritisTwo people skiing

If you experience:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • stiffness
  • redness
  • decreased range of motion in your joints

You may have arthritis. The best way to know for sure is to have a physical examination with an orthopedic specialist. He or she can diagnose your symptoms and order imaging like x-rays, CT scans, or an MRI to help determine the best treatment options for your situation.

Treatment for advanced arthritis

If the arthritis is significantly impairing your ability to perform day to day activities, your physician may recommend surgery to repair the damaged joint. In some cases, a joint repair may be the only thing necessary to smooth joint surfaces and increase function. This can often be done through a small incision and the use of a camera, or scope. More extreme cases may require a total joint replacement in order to reduce pain and increase mobility and range of motion. Although these procedures tend to have great outcomes, you should always ask you doctor about more conservative treatment options for your situation.

Non-surgical options for the early signs of arthritis

Pain is the driving force behind surgical and non-surgical treatment options for arthritis. There is no known cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can reduce pain and help you function more normally. Sometimes, a simple cortisone injection can make a world of difference. Overweight patients can also reduce the pain and stress in joints by losing even a few pounds. The important thing is to speak with a specialist about your specific needs.

Time to see a specialist

Once again, pain is usually what causes people to see a doctor. If you have any questions about your joints or other orthopedic conditions, it doesn’t hurt to come see us. We can educate you on your options and work with you to determine an ideal course of action for you. Visit Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group for more information or to book an appointment for your arthritis pain.

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