As many as 36 million people in the U.S. have some form of arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (generally associated with aging), and rheumatoid arthritis (commonly referred to as crippling arthritis). Arthritis in its many forms may result in severe crippling, with pain and impaired joint mobility and function.
Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the disease. Initially the doctor may advise medication. Over the past several years there has been significant improvement in the medicines available. Other measures may on occasion be helpful — such as physical therapy and braces or splints. Injections of a cortisone type drug into a painful joint frequently prove to be helpful. Newer forms of medications for injection into arthritic knee joints offer some promise.
Patients with severe joint pain and impairment may be candidates for joint replacement surgery. These procedures, in a very large percentage of cases, provide marked relief of pain, and improvement in patients ability to carry out the activities of daily living.
Refinements in technique and technology have made these procedures especially beneficial to those patients with severe damaged hips, knees or shoulders. In selected cases the elbow may be successfully replaced. The surgery basically consists of implanting components made of metal and high molecular weight polyethylene, which conform to the joint involved.
The surgeons on staff at Azalea Orthopedics and Sports Medicine have extensive experience with these procedures, and would be happy to discuss them with you in much more detail.
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