If you've ever stepped out of bed to a sore, stiff back or aching knee, you've briefly experienced some of what those with arthritis feel every day. Though it's often assumed to be a condition of the elderly, arthritis can actually affect people of all ages, races and genders.
“Arthritis is extremely common; it’s the leading cause of disability among adults in the U.S.,” notes AdventHealth orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Moralle.
Since arthritis issues can range from common hand stiffness to severe rheumatoid pain, each case is unique and should be treated that way. There are many different types of arthritis and related conditions, and it can still be somewhat challenging to understand. But with a little upfront knowledge and expert guidance from our physicians, we can help make your everyday life with these conditions more manageable and comfortable.
If you’ve been putting off getting care for your arthritis pain, now is the time to find a provider and get back to feeling good again.
- What Is Arthritis?
“Arthritis is a general term referring to inflammation of the joints, and may cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and even the connective tissues,” explains Dr. Moralle. Each individual may experience arthritis symptoms differently, but in general, they include:
- Chronic pain or tenderness in joints
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Limited movement in affected joints
- Swelling in joints
- Warmth and redness in the joint area
- What Causes It?
Sometimes, the cause of arthritis is simply unknown. But some or all of the following may contribute to its development:
- Environmental triggers
- Excessive wear and tear and stress on a joint
- Genetics and family history (i.e., inherited cartilage weakness)
- Metabolic disturbances
- Neurogenic disturbances
- The influence of certain hormones on the body
- How is Arthritis Treated?
“Even though there is no cure for arthritis, we can work to bring you relief through various non-surgical and minimally invasive techniques,” Dr. Moralle says. A multidisciplinary team works together to manage arthritis since many symptoms are chronic and change in severity over time.
Depending on the cause or type of arthritis, possible treatments include specific exercises, topical creams, oral pills, injections and surgery. Rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons as well as primary care physicians commonly treat arthritic conditions.
“In some cases, arthritis may begin worsening over time; however, symptoms can be stabilized or even reversed — it just depends on the specific case,” adds Dr. Moralle.
- What If I Think I Have Arthritis?
Several medical conditions share symptoms of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, so it's important to consult your physician if you're experiencing pain and stiffness.
See your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and determine if you need to see a specialist. A referral to a rheumatologist is typical when an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis is suspected.
Dr. Moralle explains, “A referral to an orthopedic surgeon is typical when surgery may help the symptoms — for example, when osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis caused by wear and tear on the joints, is severe and other treatments have not helped.”
Arthritis is diagnosed based on your history, type of symptoms, and physical exam. Your physician may also use X-rays, blood tests and other types of imaging to accurately diagnose you.
World-Class Orthopedic Care is Close to Home
If inflammation and stiffness are impacting your quality of life, let us help heal and control your pain as much as possible. To learn more or request an appointment close to home in Zephyrhills, please click here. Our dedicated orthopedic nurse navigator is available to answer your questions, help with scheduling and so much more.