Suffered An Injury? What You Need To Know About Arthritis In Your Future

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While some forms of arthritis are simply unavoidable, such as rheumatoid arthritis and other types that develop because of age, there is one form of arthritis that is actually preventable, to some extent. Post-injury arthritis, also sometimes called post-traumatic arthritis, is a preventable form of the condition. Here's what you need to know about its causes, treatments, and tips for avoiding it.

What Causes Post-Injury Arthritis?

Just as the name suggests, post-injury arthritis is a condition that develops as a result of a significant or severe injury to a joint. Any kind of trauma, including repeated sprains, fractures, and even prolonged stress on the joints due to excess weight, can lead to post-injury arthritis.

These injuries damage the joints and the cartilage surrounding them. Over time, this can increase the rate at which these joints deteriorate, leading to arthritis occurring much sooner than you would otherwise expect it to. When this happens, the arthritis diagnosis is that of post-injury arthritis.

This is why, when you suffer a severe injury, your doctor may tell you that even after you heal, you are likely to experience arthritis in the affected joint.

What Are The Symptoms Of Post-Injury Arthritis?

When it comes to recognizing the symptoms of post-injury arthritis, it's much the same as traditional forms of arthritis. The condition is the same; the cause is the biggest difference. You may notice swelling in the joint, inflammation, pain, stiffness, and other similar issues.

You may find that the discomfort starts when you are resting because that rest gives the joint time to stiffen up. Then, the pain will worsen with activity because you are adding to the inflammation that causes the pain.

Post-injury arthritis is often to blame for reduced activity levels because you will find that you are more uncomfortable during activity. Even things like climbing stairs can be more challenging, particularly if you are experiencing arthritis in your ankles, knees, or hips. If the discomfort is in your hands, elbows, or shoulders, you may find difficulty with opening jars, doing fine movements, and completing crafts.

How Do You Know If It Is Post-Injury Arthritis?

While there is no specific test that identifies post-injury arthritis as compared to traditional arthritis, there are ways to determine if your arthritis condition is the result of trauma. Your doctor will review your medical history, determining if there has ever been trauma to the affected area. In addition, he or she may order X-rays and other diagnostic tests to identify the presence of inflammation and problems in the joints.

What Kind Of Treatment Options Are There?

There are a variety of treatment options for this type of arthritis. To start with, your doctor may recommend that you drop some weight to ease the strain on your joints. A light, careful exercise regimen can help with this and can also strengthen the supporting tissue around the joints. He or she may also suggest that you alter your diet to reduce foods that cause or contribute to inflammation.

In some cases, you may need to have cortisone injections to help restore the tissue in the joint. These injections are done periodically until the condition improves. In severe cases, you may have to actually have surgery to replace the affected joint or to add some support to it.

While any form of arthritis is something that you will never be able to completely get rid of, there are ways to deal with it. Understanding the fundamentals of post-injury arthritis will help you to not only avoid it but also recognize it when the symptoms start. Talk with your doctor about your treatment options today at a clinic such as Sarasota Arthritis Center.