Nearly one in three adults suffers from the swollen, stiff and painful joints of arthritis. Arthritis is the most common chronic ailment among the elderly, although it can affect people of any age, including children.
There are over 100 different types of arthritic diseases. The most common is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage protecting the bone ends wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joint lining.
Treatment typically involves a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and devices to relieve stress on the joint (canes, crutches or splints). Regular exercise, weight loss for overweight patients, and cortisone injections may also be helpful. In severe cases, orthopaedic surgery such as joint replacement may be the only way to improve or restore function and relieve pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a type of inflammatory arthritis, is a chronic condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the joint lining, causing it to swell. This autoimmune disorder can cause pain even when the joints are not being moved. RA is the most common inflammatory arthritis affecting the hips and knees. Because of the systemic nature of the disease, it tends to affect joints on both sides of the body at the same time; if you have RA in one knee, you are likely to have it in the other.
- RA of the hips often presents as a dull ache in the groin, outer thigh or buttocks. The pain may make walking or other movements difficult, and it is often worst in the mornings.
- RA of the knees may make it difficult to bend or straighten the knee, leading to trouble walking, climbing stairs or kneeling. The knee may feel weak and susceptible to locking or buckling. As with RA of the hips, the pain and swelling are usually worst in the mornings or after resting.