Arthritis

Post Traumatic Arthritis

Post traumatic arthritis

is a curable form of arthritis that can occur following an injury like a fracture or dislocation to the hands or feet. Unlike other forms of arthritis, which can only be managed and not cured, arthritis subsequently caused by an injury can be eliminated. If not an injury, this form of arthritis can also occur either after a major or minor orthopedic surgery.

Causes of Post Traumatic Arthritis:

Unlike other forms of arthritis (like osteoarthritis) the degeneration of the bone is not because of aging. As already mentioned, an injury which can affect the cartilage in the joints can cause this post traumatic form of arthritis. The articular cartilage which gets bruised during the injury can prompt the bones to degenerate faster.

Apart from physical trauma, a surgery to the joints can also lead to this condition.

This post traumatic condition medically is considered a form of osteoarthritis.

Symptoms:

The following are the symptoms of this condition-

  • swelling of the joint
  • pain in the joint
  • accumulation of water or fluids in the damaged joint
  • intolerance to activities like walking, sports and any other weight bearing activities

Prevalence:

Estimates say that around 5.6 million Americans can get affected due to this condition. Post traumatic conditions that are triggered after a physical injury are also responsible for 12 percent of the osteoarthritic conditions that develop in the knee, hip or ankle.

Prevention:

There is no way that arthritis caused by trauma can be prevented. However, being able to minimise joint injuries would help. Frequent injuries to the same joint can quicken the degeneration process of the bones.

  • Also, it is important that people who suffer from joint injuries do not gain too much weight. Added weight can exert additional pressure on the injured joints.
  • If injuries cannot be avoided, then surgery can be an option to restore the joint function to normality.

Diagnosis:

When going for a diagnosis, it is important to take into consideration any physical injury that you may have suffered in the past five years at least. After a physical examination, imaging techniques like X-rays, MRI or CAT scan would be required to assess the damage done to the joint.

Blood tests may also be required to check if there are any pieces of bone cartilage that have broken off from the joint due to the injury.

Treatment:

Initial treatment for this condition would be to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Celebrex or Lodine for alleviating the pain associated with the joints. Doctors may also choose to inject cortisone into the injured joints to restore joint function.

  • Other than medications, it is also important for the patient to either not gain weight or reduce any extra pounds through various exercises. Also, these exercises should aim at strengthening the muscles in the vicinity of the injured joint.
  • If the damage to the joint because of

    post traumatic arthritis

    is beyond exercises and medications, then a surgery would be required which can also provide a long-term relief.

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