What is Arthritis?
"Arthritis" is a broad medical term used to describe a joint that has worn out. This can be due to changes in alignment, an injury, a body-wide disease, an interruption in the blood supply, an infection in the joint, or simply can occur with normal use over time. Many of us will develop some sort of arthritis somewhere in our bodies as we age. The location and severity of that arthritis determines how it will affect us in our everyday activities.
Pain is the single most important reason to treat arthritis, especially when it interferes with our daily activities. Because there is a wide range in the symptoms and causes of this disorder, there are a variety of methods to treat the symptoms of arthritis. These include:
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Orthoses (bracing)
- Joint Replacement Surgery
Joint replacement surgery (whether total, partial, or resurfacing) can be very successful in the treatment of arthritis symptoms, and can return patients to a higher level of activity than they experienced prior to surgery. However, such surgery is usually reserved for situations in which the arthritis is too severe to tolerate under that patient’s normal activity level. Be cautious of any situation where you feel you are being pressured to have surgery. It is important to remember, that joint replacement is elective surgery.
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