Shoulder & Knee Arthritis Treatments for Active Adults
Pain and lack of mobility can affect our lives in different ways, often becoming more persistent as we age. When these symptoms stop you from being able to carry out the physical activities you enjoy, physical pain may be compounded by emotional and psychological distress. If you’re experiencing pain and diminished mobility in your knees, shoulders or other joints, your symptoms may be due to arthritis, and treatment options are available.
Definition and Symptoms of Arthritis
The word ‘arthritis’ is derived from the Greek term “disease of the joints.” Clinically, arthritis is defined as an acute or chronic form of inflammation in the joints. Symptoms of arthritis include:
- Pain (which could be sharp, dull, aching or tingling)
- Decreased mobility and range of motion
- Joint stiffness and deformities
Arthritis may worsen with age but can affect people of all ages, including teenagers (juvenile arthritis).
Arthritis is quite common, with national statistics showing that 1 in every 4 Americans (about 59 million people) have arthritis. The progression of an arthritis diagnosis and the viable treatment methods depend on the cause of arthritis.
Types of Arthritis
Over 100 different forms of arthritis have been identified, and several factors may increase the possibility of developing arthritis. Risk factors for arthritis include age, work history, being overweight, family history, certain infections, certain conditions (autoimmune disorders, gout), and past injury.
Common types of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative or non-inflammatory arthritis, is the most common form of the disease, with up to 47% of women and 40% of men developing osteoarthritis in their lifetime. Osteoarthritis occurs due to wear and tear of supportive cartilage and bones at various joints. This condition commonly affects joints in the knees and shoulders. This type of arthritis is treated by orthopedic surgeons.
- Autoimmune Arthritis: This condition occurs due to immune system problems leading to attacks on healthy cells in the body, resulting in joint inflammation. Autoimmune arthritis attacks multiple joints around the body, most notably the knees, hands and wrists. The most common form of autoimmune arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, but other forms include psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis, amongst others. Autoimmune arthritis is generally treated by Rheumatologists with various medications.
If you are tired of being sidelined because of arthritis, several treatment and management options are available.
Shoulder & Knee Arthritis Treatments
An ideal treatment for osteoarthritis can either be short-term or long-term. The goal of every treatment is either to limit pain, reduce inflammation, preserve knee and shoulder joint function, or a combination. Effective arthritis treatments include:
Drug intervention can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints or to directly treat the cause of arthritis. Medications for joint pain and inflammation relief are typically NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen and acetaminophen. These drugs offer temporary relief from pain and are used to manage mild arthritis.
2. Arthritis Injections
These mainly consist of corticosteroid (i.e. cortisone) injections that help reduce swelling and inflammation in the knee and shoulder joints.
Depending on the severity of shoulder or knee arthritis, patients may require surgery. Surgical intervention for arthritis treatment usually involves fixing or replacing the joint and surrounding tissue. There are several forms of arthritis surgery, including:
- Arthroscopy (using a small camera inserted into the joint to remove tears in the joint),
- Osteotomy (cutting and changing the angle of a bone to decrease stress in arthritis areas, and
- Total and partial joint replacement.
Surgical arthritis treatments are highly successful, with 90% of people who get total shoulder replacement functioning well after 10 years and 90% of knee replacements still functioning well even after 15-20 years.
4. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy employs several techniques to enhance the body’s ability to move. Physical therapy sessions help evaluate movement issues due to knee arthritis and shoulder arthritis. Specific exercises are then developed to enhance joint range of motion and reduce pain.
5. Lifestyle Modifications
Making healthier life choices such as losing weight and dietary changes can help manage shoulder and knee arthritis. Avoiding excessive drinking or smoking is recommended, as smoking has been shown to increase inflammatory responses and worsen certain forms of arthritis.
Losing weight can help reduce mechanical stress on your joints, consequently helping to increase mobility and reduce pain. Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods such as fried foods, refined carbohydrates, red meat and sodas can help lessen inflammation around the body and joints. Higher body weight is associated with a higher risk of complications after surgery.
6. Physical Activity
Studies show that people who don’t engage in some form of regular physical activity are more likely to have arthritis. Additionally, the development of arthritis may enhance inactivity and contribute to conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and progressive lack of mobility. Ideal forms of physical activity to reduce the progression of arthritis include stretching, running, cycling, tennis, brisk walking and other forms of light exercises.
Seek Arthritis Treatment at G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Treatment of arthritis in the knees and shoulders and proper management of arthritis, especially during its initial stages, can help reduce pain and any associated discomfort.
At G2 Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Goradia helps patients living with degenerative arthritis and the associated pain and mobility issues. He uses clinically-backed evaluation methods to determine the most effective treatment plan for each patient. If surgical treatment is recommended, Dr. Vic Goradia offers outpatient shoulder and knee replacement surgery, which can be completed in under 8 hours. This is helpful for shoulder and knee arthritis patients when nonsurgical and alternative treatments fail or would be ineffective for a particular patient.
Are you tired of dealing with pain and mobility issues associated with arthritis in your shoulder or knee? Do you want the best care available to help you get back to the physical activities you enjoy? Then request an appointment online or give us a call at 804-678-9000 to get started on your road to recovery.