How Is Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor will examine you and ask about your symptoms. They will look for signs of arthritis or that you may have an autoimmune disease.
Blood tests may be taken to look for signs of inflammation or other signs of arthritis. Sometimes a sample of fluid may be taken from a joint. An x-ray, ultrasound or CT scan may be done to look for loss of cartilage or narrowing of the space in the joint.
Some types of arthritis can be difficult to diagnose, so it may take a few visits and tests to get a definite diagnosis. Your doctor may also need to refer you to a rheumatologist, who specialises in conditions that affect the joints.
Treating Arthritis Of The Knee
There is no cure for arthritis, but there are things you can do to manage the symptoms.
Your doctor may suggest reducing activities that aggravate knee pain, such as high-impact exercises like jogging, tennis, or basketball. You can switch to activities such as cycling or swimming to reduce strain on your knees. Losing weight can also improve wear and tear on your knees.
A physical therapist can help you strengthen the muscles in your leg so they can support your knee more thoroughly. Other exercises can increase range of motion and flexibility in the joint.
Knee braces can give support to aching knees and reduce pain from daily activities. A support device such as a cane or walker can help you redistribute your weight to take pressure off your knee. Shoes with custom orthotics can improve knee pain and make you more comfortable.
There is a wide range of options for managing pain, including over-the-counter pain medicines and prescription medications. Your doctor can suggest which drugs are best for reducing pain and swelling. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your doctor might prescribe medications such as methotrexate, sulfasalazine, and hydroxychloroquine to manage the overactive immune responses causing your knee pain. Steroid injections can relieve symptoms for longer periods of time, though they eventually wear off.
Treating Arthritis In Dogs
As your veterinarian will explain, there are a variety of different options to treat arthritis in dogs. Your plan may include a combination of management solutions and ultimately will depend on your dog and his specific situation. That being said, these are some of the most common ways to manage arthritis pain in dogs.
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What You Need To Know
- There are several types of hip arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis.
- The causes of hip arthritis vary depending on the type. The most common cause is age-related wear and tear in the hip joint.
- Symptoms of hip arthritis may include pain in or near the hip joint, stiffness, audible clicking sounds when moving the hip, and weakness.
- While hip arthritis is usually a chronic condition, there are treatments to help ease the symptoms and reduce further damage. If your quality of life suffers, surgery such as hip replacement can provide long-term relief.
Berries Apples And Pomegranates
Berries are rich in antioxidants and the Arthritis Foundation notes that blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and boysenberries all provide arthritis-fighting power. Youll get health benefits no matter if you eat them frozen, fresh or dehydrated , so be sure to eat a variety of berries throughout the week.
Apples are also high in antioxidants and a good source of fiber. Plus, they provide crunch and can help curb your appetite for unhealthy snacks, Dunn says.
Pomegranates, which are classified as berry fruits, are rich in tannins which can fight the inflammation of arthritis. Add these to a salad or stir into plain yogurt for some added benefits.
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Evening Primrose Oil Supplements
Some plant oils may reduce pain and stiffness associated with RA. Evening primrose oil contains an essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid that may provide some relief.
A 2016 study found that taking evening primrose oil and fish oil may reduce inflammation and disease activity.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , however, more research is needed on the effectiveness of primrose oil.
Again, check with your doctor before taking evening primrose oil, as it may interact with some medications. Potential side effects include headache and an upset stomach.
Thunder god vine grows in China and Taiwan and is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Research has indicated that it may be effective for treating RA symptoms.
According to a 2015 study , thunder god vine was comparable to the standard RA drug methotrexate in relieving symptoms. The study found that taking both was even more effective.
A 2018 research review also suggested that thunder god vine supplements may help reduce inflammation. Still, more research is needed on long-term effects and safety.
Talk to your doctor and assess the benefits before trying thunder god vine, as it may have some serious side effects. These can include reduced bone mineral content, infertility, rashes, and hair loss.
Thunder god vine can also be poisonous if it isnt prepared correctly.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and stiffness in your joints, inflammation around the joints and limited joint movement. There are many different types of arthritis, each with different symptoms.
Its normal to experience aches and pains, especially if youve carried out strenuous activity. But if your symptoms are unexplained, dont go away within a few days or if they are impacting your day-to-day life, you should visit your doctor.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Extra weight puts extra pressure and strain on your joints, which contributes to arthritis pain and can lead to additional complications. If youre overweight or obese, losing weight can significantly improve joint pain.
Small changes in your lifestyle can help you shed extra pounds and keep them off long-term. If you are at a healthy weight, maintaining your weight with a healthy diet and exercise can help keep joint pain from getting worse.
Alternative Medicine For Arthritis
A variety of alternative therapies is used for arthritis. However, none of these has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of arthritis, so they may not be effective or safe. It is important to let your doctor know if you’re considering these types of treatments.
While some studies suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are as effective as NSAIDs for reducing pain, swelling, and stiffness in osteoarthritis, recent large studies funded by the NIH suggest these supplements are not very helpful, except perhaps in some cases. Typical daily doses are 1,500 milligrams for glucosamine and 1,200 milligrams for chondroitin.
The antibiotic doxycycline may have some potential to delay the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting enzymes that break down cartilage. More research is needed to confirm these results.
The NIH considers acupuncture an acceptable alternative treatment for osteoarthritis, especially if it affects the knee. Studies have shown that acupuncture helps reduce pain, may significantly lessen the need for painkillers, and can help increase range of motion in affected knee joints.
The supplement SAMe has been shown in some studies to be as effective for osteoarthritis pain as NSAIDs.
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How Is Arthritis In The Hand Treated
Treatment options depend on the type of arthritis, stage of arthritis, how many joints are affected, your age, activity level, the hand affected and other existing medical conditions.
Goals of treatment are to:
- Improve mobility and function.
- Increase your quality of life.
- In the case of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, to slow the progression of the disease.
Treatment options include splinting/bracing, medications, injections, non-drug approaches and surgery.
Splits or braces support and protect the affected joint, reduce deformity, provide joint stability, lessen strain, and promote proper joint alignment. Your healthcare provider, occupational therapist or hand therapist will discuss splinting/bracing options, how and when to wear them and how long to wear them .
Steroids reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Steroids are usually used if medications dont control inflammation or if the inflammation is limited to a few joints. Injections are administered directly into the affected joint. Because steroids can weaken tendons and ligaments, injections are repeated only a few times.
Other management strategies
A complete treatment plan for arthritis of the hand includes these additional approaches:
If nonsurgical treatments no longer provide relief and the cartilage at the ends of your bones has worn away, surgery may be an option. There are several approaches:
Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements Helpful For Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
Supplements are not reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They are not required to undergo the same rigorous clinical trial methods that medications must undergo in the U.S. Some clinical trials show benefits with pain relief however, there is no proof that these supplements slow the progression of osteoarthritis. If you plan to try these, always check with your healthcare provider before using supplements. These products may interfere with medications you currently take.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, swollen joints in your hand are all symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis could affect your hands. Many treatment options are available depending on your exact arthritis type. Medications can reduce joint pain and swelling. Researchers are still working on ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. See your healthcare provider if you think you have arthritis in your hands. They will perform a complete exam and offer you a complete treatment plan, which includes hand exercises, use of hot and cold packs, other lifestyle tips and traditional treatments including medications, braces/splints, steroid injections and surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2021.
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Surprising Facts About Arthritis Pain
Even though pain may interfere with work relationships and daily life few Americans talk to their doctors about it. Did you know:
- Fewer than half of Americans with severe or moderate pain report that they have a “great deal of control” over their pain.
- Fewer than half of people who visit their doctor for pain believe that their doctor completely understands how their pain makes them feel.
Treat Yourself To A Massage
Massages arent just for de-stressing they can also provide your joints with much-needed pain relief. A study of 42 adults with RA found that those whod gotten moderate-pressure massages had less pain better range of motion in their shoulders, elbows, and wrists and stronger grip strength after a month.
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Osteoarthritis And Joint Pain
About 9 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis, making it the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis affects the cartilage lining of the joints, causing it to roughen. This makes it more difficult to move and causes pain and stiffness. As the cartilage becomes rougher and thinner, the tendons and ligaments in the joints work harder. Small bits of bone can grow in the joint, and there can be an increase of fluid. The joint can also change shape.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it usually occurs in the knees, hips and hands.
Signs of osteoarthritis that you might notice are:
- Increased pain or stiffness when you havent moved your joints in a while
- A grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints
- Your joints appearing slightly larger or more knobbly than usual
- Your range of movement being limited
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Home Remedies For Arthritis
In addition to treatments recommended by your doctor, you can use dry heat from a heating pad or moist heat in the form of a hot bath or a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel to help relieve pain and stiffness. Heat and rest are very effective in the short run for most people with the disease. Regular exercise is also important to keep the joints mobile.
If you are overweight, losing weight is key, especially when arthritis affects the lower back, knees, and legs. Extra pounds add to the load and pressure on your joints, which can cause your arthritis to get worse faster. Being overweight also raises your chances of related health problems. Consult a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy weight loss program.
People with weakened, badly deformed fingers from rheumatoid arthritis benefit from specially designed utensils and door and drawer handles people with weakness in the legs and arms can use special bathroom fixtures, especially tub rails and elevated toilet seats.
Although arthritis may not be preventable, disability is — with a well-designed treatment program, including medications, exercise, and physical therapy when needed.
Here are some more things you can do to help keep the condition in check:
Educate yourself. Take a self-management course to learn specifics on day-to-day arthritis care.
Get active. Exercise can help you move better, lessen pain, and put off disability.
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Surgery For Hip Arthritis
The progression of hip arthritis and effectiveness of various nonsurgical treatments varies. If nonsurgical options dont provide the desired pain relief and your quality of life suffers, it may be time to consider surgical options, such as:
- Hip replacement surgery, or hip arthroplasty, is a procedure to replace one or both ends of a damaged hip joint with artificial implants.
- Hip fusion is a procedure to fuse the bones of the hip joint together. It used to be the standard surgical treatment for hip arthritis before replacement surgeries became available, but is now a last-resort treatment as it severely impacts mobility.
Eat A Mediterranean Diet
Theres no magic eating plan that will alleviate arthritis for good, but a Mediterranean-style diet is considered the gold standard anti-inflammatory diet, says Folashade Alade, MD, a rheumatologist for Piedmont Physicians Group in Georgia. Less inflammation may mean less arthritis pain. A recent review in Rheumatology International found that eating a Mediterranean diet emphasizing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish while cutting back on red meat shows promise in reducing pain and physical function of rheumatoid arthritis patients.
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Arthritis And Joint Pain Management
Many professional organizations have guidelines for managing arthritis pain. A common theme across guidelines is that pain management strategies should be flexible, include options that do not involve medication, and be tailored to meetthe needs of the patient. Such guidelines suggestthe following for managing arthritis symptoms such as pain:
- Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
- Physical activity/exercise or community-based physical activity programs.
- Exercise therapy, including physical therapy.
- Self-management education workshops.
- Weight loss, if overweight or obese.
- Cognitive behavioral therapya psychological, goal-directed approach in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress.
Emerging evidence suggests that these are safer and more effective treatments for managing long-term arthritis pain than opioids.
- A recent study of individuals with knee and hip osteoarthritis, the most common types of arthritis, found that after one year, people who took over-the-counter medications had greater reductions in pain severity than people who took opioids.
Safer options exist to help manage arthritis pain.
What Type Of Hand Surgery Is Most Commonly Performed On The Specific Joints Affected By Arthritis
- Base of the thumb: Where your thumb and wrist join. Common surgical options include removing part or all of one of the trapezium bone , tendon transfer or joint fusion.
- Knuckles : Joint replacement is almost always considered for this repair. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause serious damage and disability to your knuckles.
- Second joint of your finger : Osteoarthritis commonly causes stiffness and loss of motion. Joint replacement or fusion are considered for these joints. Because you use these joints frequently, there is a chance your implant could wear out. In this case, your provider may recommend further surgery.
- Top of finger joint : Joint fusion is commonly used to treat arthritis in this joint.
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Remember That No Is A Perfectly Acceptable Answer
Frustrating as it is, other people wont always understand what its like living with arthritis. Learn your bodys limits, and dont force yourself to go past them no matter how much pressure youre getting from loved ones . Theres nothing wrong with saying, Sorry I cant go or Its time for me to go home, because Ive run out of spoons, points out CreakyJoints follower Jon Aumann. Here are more tips for handling social plans without the guilt.
Medications To Treat Arthritis In Dogs
Your veterinarian may decide to perform a blood test to determine if your dog is eligible for prescription medication, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , to help manage arthritis pain. If your dog is suitable, your veterinarian will work with you on the specifics of dosage and administering the medication. Remember that human NSAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen, are toxic medications to dogs and should never be given to them for pain relief.
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Effects On Your Daily Life
- See a doctor or other relevant healthcare professional if youre unable to do everyday tasks due to joint or muscle pain.
- If youve lifted something heavy and hurt your back, for example, take some painkillers, apply some heat and try to stay active. If the pain doesnt ease after a couple of weeks or so, see a doctor.
Its important to see a doctor if you get any new symptoms or if you have any trouble with drugs youre taking.
If you have an appointment with a doctor, to help make sure you get the most out of it, you could take a list of questions with you and tick them off as they are discussed.
You could also keep a symptoms diary with details of how youre feeling in between appointments. Some people find that taking a friend or relative with them to an appointment can provide support and ensure that all important points are discussed.