Arthritis Awareness Month is an opportune time to begin a quest for knowledge in regards to being aware of your body, and remaining watchful for symptoms of serious conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Knowledge is power when it comes to your health, and awareness of osteoarthritis, its symptoms and treatment options is essential to living life to its fullest potential, while taking necessary precautions to ensure that you are both happy and healthy.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis. The ends of our bones that meet at the joint are cushioned by a protective layer of cartilage that prevents damage and provides shock absorption, and as we age, the cushioning cartilage between bones will break down. As cartilage deteriorates, the bones begin to rub against one another, causing inflamed joints and eventually leading to osteoarthritis.
While osteoarthritis can affect any joint, this disease occurs most often in weight-bearing joints of the hips, knees and lower back. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis is a common condition, affecting approximately 27 million individuals in the United States.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis
A joint affected by osteoarthritis may become painful and inflamed, and common symptoms of osteoarthritis include soreness, stiffness or limited range of motion in the joints. These indicators can range from mild to severe, and can make everyday tasks difficult to manage, such as climbing stairs, walking and grasping objects. The most common warning signs of osteoarthritis include tenderness in the joint after overuse or inactivity, stiffness that is relieved when activity resumes, pain that worsens at the end of the day, cracking when bending joints and swelling around the joints.
When to see Dr. Dupay
If pain or stiffness lasts longer than a few weeks, it is important to see a specialist to ensure that you are caring for your joints and overall health. Older age, obesity and injury are all factors that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, and as we age, it is essential to stay in tune with our bodies so that we can see a doctor to address symptoms as soon as they arise. Early diagnosis is essential so that you can take necessary precautions to protect your joints and prevent further or permanent damage to your body. While osteoarthritis cannot be cured, treatment and rehabilitation can relieve pain and allow you to regain full motion and strength.
If pain is severe, surgery may be needed to replace affected joints. Before taking this step, your doctor will consider lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss, implementing a healthy diet and avoiding high-impact activities. Additional options include physical therapy to increase flexibility and range of motion, assistive devices, such as canes or walkers, or pain medications. However, if the symptoms of osteoarthritis are debilitating and not relieved with non-surgical treatments, replacement may be necessary to treat osteoarthritis.
If you are experiencing joint pain, please call Dr Dupay. For more information, visit www.ifixbones.com or call (239) 768-2272.
Edward R. Dupay, Jr, DO
Dr. Dupay graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his Doctor of Osteopathy at the University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dr. Dupay completed his Internship and Orthopedic Surgery Residency at Flint Osteopathic Hospital in Flint, Michigan. Dr. Dupay has been in the Fort Myers / Cape Coral area since 1987.
13691 Metro Parkway, Suite 400,
Fort Myers Florida 33912