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Sports Medicine

Arthritis Care

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, especially among older people. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects cartilage – the slippery tissue that covers the end of our bone joints. In a healthy person, cartilage allows bones to glide over one another and softens the shock of physical movements. But when arthritis develops, that cartilage breaks down and begins to wear away. This causes patients pain, swelling, and stiffness. Seeking care for arthritis is important because over time the joint can begin to lose its shape and bone spurs (bony projections) may grow on the edges of the joint, causing even more pain.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Arthritis can occur all throughout the body but it most commonly affects the base of the thumbs, ends of fingers, knees, hips, lower back, and neck. Talk to your primary care physician or visit Ogden Clinic’s orthopedic department if you experience persistent joint pain. Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis include:

  • Stiffness in a joint after prolonged sitting or sleeping
  • Swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
  • Steady pain in a joint
  • Feeling or hearing the sound of bone rubbing on bone
  • Joint pain following an injury

Your sports medicine or orthopedic physician will use a combination of methods to diagnose osteoarthritis and begin addressing symptoms. To identify the disease, he or she will perform a physical exam and delve into your clinical history. X-rays, blood tests, or joint aspiration are a few other tests that can help identify osteoarthritis.

How is arthritis treated?

There is no cure for arthritis so treatment aims to improve joint use and control pain. Another goal of treatment is helping patients maintain a healthy bodyweight – this is an important factor in osteoarthritis management and one that sports medicine experts specialize in.

An Ogden Clinic sports medicine specialist may begin with solutions such as:

  • Exercises to keep the joints flexible and improve strength
  • Corticosteroids and NSAIDs
  • Joint injections
  • Heat/cold therapy
  • Weight control to prevent extra stress on weight-bearing joints

In severe cases, surgery may be suggested, such as a hip or knee replacement. The type of surgery will depend on your age and the severity of the disease. Ogden Clinic sports medicine specialists work closely with in-network orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists to give Utahns a full, safe recovery.

Learning as much as you can about the nature of your arthritis and taking an active role in your treatment are two effective ways to regain control of your life. Ogden Clinic physicians are dedicated to providing the highest level of care with a range of treatment options and a team approach to arthritis management.