Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How Do You Know If You Got Arthritis

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Knee

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There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee:

  • Creaking, clicking, grinding or snapping noises .
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Joint pain that changes depending on the weather.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Knee joint pain that progresses slowly or pain that happens suddenly.
  • Your knee locks or sticks when its trying to move.

Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis of the knee. Some treatments might reduce the severity of your symptoms or even stall the progression. See your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of knee arthritis.

What Types Of Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Having a lifelong illness like rheumatoid arthritis may make you feel like you dont have much control over your quality of life. While there are aspects of RA that you cant control, there are things you can do to help you feel the best that you can.

Such lifestyle changes include:

Rest

When your joints are inflamed, the risk of injury to your joints and nearby soft tissue structures is high. This is why you need to rest your inflamed joints. But its still important for you to exercise. Maintaining a good range of motion in your joints and good fitness overall are important in coping with RA.

Exercise

Pain and stiffness can slow you down. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis become inactive. But inactivity can lead to a loss of joint motion and loss of muscle strength. These, in turn, decrease joint stability and increase pain and fatigue.

Regular exercise can help prevent and reverse these effects. You might want to start by seeing a physical or occupational therapist for advice about how to exercise safely. Beneficial workouts include:

  • Range-of-motion exercises to preserve and restore joint motion.
  • Exercises to increase strength.
  • Exercises to increase endurance .

Ra Symptoms Often Include More Than Joint Pain

Since rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease, it will progress aggressively if not treated early on. According to a study published in a 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Early diagnosis and treatment of RA can avert or substantially slow progression of joint damage in up to 90 percent of patients, thereby preventing irreversible disability. All the more reason to recognize RAs pain symptoms many of which you might not associate with arthritis pain. These can include:

  • Joint pain that occurs on both sides of the body, such as both feet, ankles, wrists, or fingers

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Changes In Surrounding Joints

In patients with advanced thumb base arthritis, the neighboring joints may become more mobile than normal.

Thumb extension deformity. This patient has lost mobility at the base of the thumb due to arthritis. The next joint closer to the tip of the thumb has become more mobile than normal to make up for the arthritic joint. Normally, the thumb does not come to a right angle with the rest of the hand.

What Are The Types Of Arthritis

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Arthritis most often affects areas in or around joints. Joints are parts of the body where bones meet such as your knee. The ends of the bones are covered by cartilage, a spongy material that acts as a shock absorber to keep bones from rubbing together. The joint is enclosed in a capsule called the synovium. The synoviums lining releases a slippery fluid that helps the joint move smoothly and easily. Muscles and tendons support the joint and help you move. Different types of arthritis can affect one or more parts of a joint. This often results in a change of shape and alignment in the joints.

Certain types of arthritis can also affect other parts of the body, such as the skin and internal organs. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. It is important to know which type of arthritis you have so you can treat it properly. If you dont know which type you have, call your doctor or ask during your next visit. Some common types of arthritis are described below.

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What Is A Joint And How Does It Work

A joint is where two or more bones meet, such as in the fingers, knees, and shoulders. Joints hold bones in place and allow them to move freely within limits.

Most of the joints in our body are surrounded by a strong capsule. The capsule is filled with a thick fluid that helps to lubricate the joint. These capsules hold our bones in place. They do this with the help of ligaments. These are a bit like very strong elastic bands.

The ends of the bones within a joint are lined with cartilage. This is a smooth but tough layer of tissue that allows bones to glide over one another as you move.

If we want to move a bone, our brain gives a signal to the muscle, which then pulls a tendon, and this is attached to the bone. Muscles therefore have an important role in supporting a joint.

How Do I Know If I Have Arthritis

Osteoarthritis: This form of arthritis is also called degenerative joint disease or is commonly referred to as wear and tear arthritis.

  • How does it occur? Over time, the breakdown of protective cartilage within a joint leaves the bones to rub against one another, producing pain. This can happen due to injury, overuse or even because of genetics.

  • What symptoms does it cause? This condition often affects the hips, knees, or lower back. In addition to general joint pain, it causes stiffness, especially first thing in the morning and swelling in the joints after activity.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: This form of arthritis is a systemic, autoimmune disorder that specifically impacts the joints.

  • How does it occur? When the immune system attacks healthy joint tissue, the synovium is compromised, resulting in inflammation.

  • What symptoms does it cause? It most commonly impacts the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles and occurs within those joints symmetrically. In addition to causing general joint pain, those suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis often also complain of fatigue, fever and various other problems throughout the body.

Psoriatic Arthritis: This form of arthritis is also an autoimmune disease, which affects both the joints and the skin.

Ready to make an appointment with a doctor to discuss your joint pain? For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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Should I See A Doctor

Its common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. This may especially be true if you take part in unusual or strenuous physical activities.

So, how can you tell the difference between the early signs of arthritis and normal pain and stiffness? And, how do you know when you should see a doctor about your symptoms?

If you have swelling or stiffness that you cant explain and that doesn’t go away in a few days, or if it becomes painful to touch your joints, you should see a doctor. The earlier you get a diagnosis and start the right type of treatment, the better the outcome will be.

Here are some other things to think about that might help you decide whether you need to see a doctor:

Will I Need Surgery For Arthritis

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Healthcare providers usually only recommend surgery for certain severe cases of arthritis. These are cases that havent improved with conservative treatments. Surgical options include:

  • Fusion: Two or more bones are permanently fused together. Fusion immobilizes a joint and reduces pain caused by movement.
  • Joint replacement: A damaged, arthritic joint gets replaced with an artificial joint. Joint replacement preserves joint function and movement. Examples include ankle replacement, hip replacement, knee replacement and shoulder replacement.

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Inflammatory Arthritis Vs Osteoarthritis

Arthritis actually describes over 100 different conditions that affect joints and the surrounding tissue. They fall into two main categories: inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis .

Inflammatory arthritis is a systemic disease in which the mechanisms that normally protect your body attack your own joints and tissues instead. The most well-known example is rheumatoid arthritis , which tends to be symmetrical, meaning youll have problems in the same joints on both sides of your body, like both wrists or both knees.

The second type of arthritis and the most common form is osteoarthritis. A degenerative disorder, its caused by trauma or age-related wear and tear on your joints over time. OA is most likely to affect weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hip, lower spine or big toe, but it can also cause pain and stiffness in your thumb or finger joints.

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Other Possible Causes Of Hand Pain

Hand pain is also a sign of Dupuytrens contracture, a condition in which the tissue of the palm and fingers becomes thickened and tight, causing the fingers to curl inward. Its not clear why Dupuytrens contracture develops, though those who smoke, drink a lot of alcohol, and have seizures or diabetes are more vulnerable to developing it.

Your doctor will also consider whether your hand pain could be due to carpal tunnel syndrome, says Dr. Byram. RA can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, so if we see someone who has carpal tunnel, well want to make sure they dont have RA. Carpal tunnel is a condition that occurs when one of the major nerves to the hand the median nerve is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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What Are Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are of two basic types. One is the kind that arises near a joint with osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. In this situation, the cartilage has been worn through and the bone responds by growing extra bone at the margins of the joint surface. These “spurs” carry the formal name “osteophytes.” They are common features of the osteoarthritic shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle. Removing these osteophytes is an important part of joint replacement surgery but removing them without addressing the underlying arthritis is usually not effective in relieving symptoms.

The second type of bone spur is the kind that occurs when the attachment of ligaments or tendons to bone become calcified. This can occur on the bottom of the foot around the Achilles Tendon and in the coroacoacromial ligament of the shoulder. These spurs often look impressive on X-rays, but because they are in the substance of the ligaments rarely cause sufficient problems to merit excision.

How Does Arthritis Feel

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Arthritis usually causes stiffness pain and fatigue. The severity varies from person to person and even from day to day. In some people only a few joints are affected and the impact may be small. In other people the entire body system may be affected.

The joints of the body are the site of much of the action in arthritis. Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness.

When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition. While normal joints can support a vast amount of use, mechanical abnormalities of a joint make it susceptible to degeneration.

It is healthy for you to keep active and move your joints. If you do not move a joint regularly, the muscles around it weaken and/or become tight. The joint can stiffen or even freeze. When you do try to move the joint and muscles hurt because they have been still for so long.

Arthritis can make it hard to do the movements you rely on every day for work or taking care of your family.

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What Are The Types Of Arthritis Of The Knee

There are around 100 types of arthritis. The most common types that might affect your knees include:

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common of the types on this list. Osteoarthritis wears away your cartilage the cushioning between the three bones of your knee joint. Without that protection, your bones rub against each other. This can cause pain, stiffness and limited movement. It can also lead to the development of bone spurs. Osteoarthritis gets worse as time passes.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis. The cartilage starts thinning after trauma to your knee . Your bones rub together, and that causes the same symptoms as osteoarthritis: pain, stiffness and limited movement. Your knee arthritis symptoms might not start until years after the trauma.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. A healthy immune system causes inflammation when it’s trying to protect you from an infection, injury, toxin or another foreign invader. The inflammatory response is one way your body protects itself. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you have an unhealthy immune system that triggers inflammation in your joints even though theres no foreign invader. The inflammation causes pain, stiffness and swelling of the synovial membrane, which can also wear away your cartilage.

How Do I Differentiate Between Shoulder Pain And Heart Pain

Sudden left shoulder pain can sometimes be a sign of a heart attack, and you should contact the emergency room immediately if you experience sudden pressure in the chest or severe pain in the shoulder, especially if the pain extends from your chest to the left side of the jaw or to the arm or neck, or It occurs with shortness of breath, dizziness or sweating.

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When To Speak With A Doctor

To treat RA effectively, it is important that a person gets an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. If they experience symptoms of RA, they should seek medical help.

If a doctor suspects RA, they may arrange for the person to consult a rheumatologist, a doctor with specialized training in treating arthritis.

A doctor will first ask about the persons medical history before discussing joint symptoms. They will want to know about any pain, tenderness, stiffness, and any mobility difficulties they might be experiencing.

The doctor may also want to know about any family history of autoimmune diseases.

They will then carry out a thorough physical examination, documenting vital signs, examining joints, and looking for tenderness, swelling, or warmth of the joints. The doctor may also order blood and imaging tests to support the suspected diagnosis.

What Imaging Techniques May Be Used To Diagnose Arthritis

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Imaging techniques may give your healthcare provider a clearer picture of what is happening to your joint. Imaging techniques may include the following:

  • X-ray. X-rays may show joint changes and bone damage found in some types of arthritis. Other imaging tests may also be done.

  • Ultrasound. Ultrasound uses sound waves to see the quality of synovial tissue, tendons, ligaments, and bones.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging . MRI images are more detailed than X-rays. They may show damage to joints, including muscles, ligaments, and cartilage.

  • Arthroscopy. This procedure uses a thin tube containing a light and camera to look inside the joint. The arthroscope is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen. It is used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation, and to treat certain conditions.

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Can Arthritis Cause Numbness

Numbness is often a symptom of nerve involvement. For instance, numbness in the arm may be related to nerve irritation in the neck. In such a situation, turning or bending the head to the involved side may increase the symptoms. For example, a pinched nerve in the right side of the neck may cause numbness in the arm and hand when a person attempts to look back over the right shoulder. If nerve irritation becomes more severe, the arm and hand may become weak. A physical examination X-rays and an MRI of the neck and electrodiagnostic tests may be useful in establishing the diagnosis.

How Is Arthritis Treated

Theres no cure for arthritis, but there are treatments that can help you manage the condition. Your treatment plan will depend on the severity of the arthritis, its symptoms and your overall health.

Conservative treatments include:

  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory and pain medications may help relieve your arthritis symptoms. Some medications, called biologics, target your immune systems inflammatory response. A healthcare provider may recommend biologics for your rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation can help improve strength, range of motion and overall mobility. Therapists can teach you how to adjust your daily activities to lessen arthritic pain.
  • Therapeutic injections: Cortisone shots may help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation in your joints. Arthritis in certain joints, such as your knee, may improve with a treatment called viscosupplementation. It injects lubricant to help joints move smoothly.

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