Osteoarthritis is a painful condition that affects the joints in the body. It is the common form of joint arthritis. The deterioration of bone cartilage is main the cause of osteoarthritis. It may occur with aging, wear-and-tear of bones or joint injury. The symptoms often vary for every person. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, flexibility loss and bone spurs. Managing symptoms is an essential aspect of treatment plan.
Proper diagnosis is important. The diagnosis is confirmed by certain tests such as blood test, joint fluid analysis, x-rays, and MRI scan. Permanent cure for osteoarthritis not possible. Treatment procedures can only be used to control the progress of symptoms. The conservative measures to limit symptoms include oral medications, injections, physical therapy and lifestyle modification. Medications and injections are used to reduce mild or severe pain and inflammation in the affected joint. Physical therapy consists of simple exercises which improves joint disability and range of motion. Weight loss is beneficial to reduce stress and pressure on the joints.
Surgical treatment are used only when conservative methods fail. Depending upon the severity in condition, different surgeries are used in treatment. The most commonly used surgeries are osteotomy and joint replacement surgery. In osteotomy, the bones in the joint are re-aligned. This is done by cutting the bone above or below the affected joint. In this way, the damaged part of the joint is removed. This reduces pressure at the affected site. On the other side, in joint replacement surgery, artificial devices are used to replace damaged joint surfaces. The prosthesis is generally made up of plastic or metal. The commonly replaced joints are of hip and knee. Both surgeries take about 2 hours duration. The wounds are covered with the help of stitches and bandages.
Proper rest and medications is essential to control pain and other discomforts of surgery. Ice packs must be applied regularly over the operated site to enhance healing. With medications, physical therapy programs are also initiated to regain normal joint motion. They comprise of muscle stretching and strengthening exercises. It almost takes 1-3 months for joint to completely recover. The risks included in surgery are enhanced pain and stiffness, redness, difficulty in movement, and chances of infection.