Understanding Arthritis

Posted by Signature Medical Group on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 in Orthopedics

Arthritis is common but not well understood.

It is not a single disease but an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. At Signature Medical Group, we treat more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.

People of all ages have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

Diagnosing Arthritis

Arthritis diagnosis often begins with a Signature Medical Group primary care doctor, who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis. Signature also has arthritis specialists, or rheumatologists, involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the arthritis may be inflammatory. Rheumatologists typically manage ongoing treatment for inflammatory arthritis, gout and other complicated cases.

Orthopedic surgeons at Signature perform joint surgery, including joint replacements. We often use non-invasive and non-surgical treatments. We specialize in treating patients who are experiencing problems with previous joint replacements or need revisions. Request an appointment today.