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    Understanding Arthritis

    Joints are made of bones and soft tissues. Affixed to the end of the bones, inside of the joints, is articular cartilage. This material is smooth and resembles the cartilage found at the end of a turkey bone. The properties of the articular cartilage allow the bones to slide and roll against one another during movement. Articular cartilage also has the ability to bear heavy loads during activity.

    When the articular cartilage wears down or is damaged on any of these surfaces, we call this arthritis. The word "arthritis" simply means "inflammation of the joint." There are several types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. This is caused by wear and tear from activity over the years. At what age this occurs depends on individual factors such as activity, weight, prior trauma and the way our joints are shaped.

    Other types of arthritis are:
    Systemic Arthritis (Rheumatoid, Psoriatic)
    Post-traumatic Arthritis
    Infectious Arthritis
    Developmental Arthritis

    What Happens Over Time?

    Early in the disease process, patients experience pain, swelling and stiffness from time to time. As arthritis worsens, patients will notice decreased range of motion of the affected joint, increasing pain and changes in the alignment of the joint.

    Early treatment

    Dr. Lajam will ask you about your symptoms and will perform a physical exam and take xrays of the joint. At first, most types of arthritis are treated with activity modification, medication and physical therapy. If the arthritis is already advanced when you first see Dr. Lajam, she may discuss other treatment options so that you understand what can be done.

    The good news is, there is a lot that can be done to treat all forms of arthritis. Advances in treatment are made all the time. Dr. Lajam can explain the treatment that will be best for you.