Arthritis is a disease that occurs due to inflammation in a joint, which is a location in the
body where the ends of two or more bones meet. Arthritis is common in the knee, where the
lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) and thighbone (femur) form a joint, in the hip, where the
top of the thighbone (femoral head) and concave portion of the pelvis (acetabulum) meet to
form a joint.
Arthritis is debilitating because it degrades the tissues of the joint, specifically
cartilage, a soft tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Cartilage cushions the
bone in order to avoid friction created during bone-on-bone contact. Another type of joint
tissue affected by arthritis is synovium, a fibrous lining that surrounds the joint and
produces a fluid that helps reduce friction.
Types Of Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis; however, the most common forms include:
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common
type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage covering the end of the bones wears away
over time. With no cushion, the bones begin to rub against each other, and the resulting
friction leads to swelling and pain in the joint. This type of arthritis can occur in
any joint; however, it commonly affects weight-bearing joints, such as the knee and hip.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid
arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can affect any joint in the body; however, it is
common in the hands, wrists, and knees. In this type of arthritis, the immune system
attacks the body and causes the joint lining to swell. The inflammation then spreads to
the surrounding tissue, damaging the cartilage and bone.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis: If the bone and
cartilage do not heal properly, Post-traumatic arthritis may develop after injury to a
joint. The joint is no longer smooth and the irregularities can lead to wear of the
joint over time.
Symptoms Of Arthritis
Different types of arthritis have varying symptoms, as well as levels of severity, from
patient to patient. The most common symptoms include:
Diagnosis Of Arthritis
Arthritis is diagnosed through a physical examination and careful evaluation of symptoms.
Additionally, the orthopaedic surgeon may suggest an X-ray to show the extent of any damage
to a joint. The orthopaedic surgeon is usually looking for the following indicators:
- Muscle weakness
- Tenderness to touch
- Pain upon pressure to the affected joint
- Limited joint mobility
Additionally, blood and other laboratory tests may be helpful in determining the type of
arthritis presented by the patient.
The orthopaedic surgeon will first recommend non-surgical treatments, such as medication,
physical therapy and resting; however, if pain is not alleviated, surgical procedures may be
necessary. There are many different types of surgical procedures, including lining removal,
realignment, fusing the end of the bones in the joint together, or total joint replacement.
In a total joint replacement, the damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial
joint, called a prosthesis.
In most cases, patients with this disease continue to perform normal activities; however,
exercise programs and medications are common measures in the reduction of pain and
stiffness, as well as the improvement of joint function.
Arthritis Treatment In New York City
Dr. Robert Haar has years of experience performing both
traditional and minimally invasive joint replacement
surgeries. Dr. Haar's office is located on the Upper
East Side of Manhattan in New York City. To make an
appointment with Dr. Haar, please call the NYC office at (212) 876-7000.