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What Is Osteoarthritis?

Arthritis is inflammation (swelling or pain) of one or more of your joints. Any of your joints may be affected by arthritis, such as the knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, but the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are their causes.

Osteoarthritis is cause by degeneration, or wear-and-tear, on your joints. It occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people too. Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

  • The symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
  • pain,
  • swelling, and
  • stiffness.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available to help manage pain and help people stay active.

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Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is particularly common in the knee. Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. The cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. Because of this, your bones start rubbing together, which produces painful bone spurs.

Shoulder Osteoarthritis

As the shoulder joint begins to form arthritis, the smooth cartilage surrounding the shoulder can wear down. The smooth surfaces become rough, like sandpaper. Instead of gliding smoothly when you move your shoulder, the bones grind and you have pain and/or stiffness.

Osteoarthritis Treatment

There is no cure for osteoarthritis but there are many treatments that may help relieve your pain and disability. First your doctor may recommend one of these non-surgical treatments:

  • lifestyle modifications,
  • physical therapy,
  • bracing,
  • medications, and
  • injections.

However, if these treatments don’t help with your pain or disability, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Patient Resources

Treating Joint Pain from Osteoarthritis

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What to Expect at Your Orthopedic Appointment

We provide expert care and orthopedic evaluations for adults, adolescents, and children who are experiencing problems of the bones and joints. Our orthopedic specialists diagnose and treat everything from simple sprains and strains to complex conditions.