Understanding Arthritis | Knee & Hip Surgeon Wollongong
Understanding your condition is the most important step.
It is possible to live well with arthritis!
But first you must understand what type of arthritis you have, then you can take the best steps to how treat and manage your condition.
What does ‘arthritis’ mean?
‘Arthritis’ is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in stiffness and pain.
Types of Arthritis
There are over 100 forms of arthritis. Each type of arthritis affects you and your joints in different ways. Some forms of arthritis can also involve other parts of the body such as the eyes.
The most common forms of arthritis are:
What are the symptoms?
Arthritis affects people in different ways but the most common symptoms are:
stiffness or reduced movement of a joint
swelling in a joint
redness and warmth in a joint
general symptoms, such as tiredness, weight loss or feeling unwell.
Does having a sore joint mean I have arthritis?
There are many different reasons why your joints may be sore. Not all pain in muscles and joints is caused by arthritis. It could be from an injury or using your joints and muscles in an unusual way (for example, playing a new sport or lifting heavy boxes).
Talk to your doctor if you have pain and stiffness that:
starts for no clear reason
lasts for more than a few days
comes on with swelling, redness and warmth of your joints.
How can I find out if I have arthritis?
See your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of arthritis. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and examine your joints. They may do some tests or x-rays, but these can be normal in the early stages of arthritis. It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. This is because some types of arthritis can be hard to diagnose in the early stages. Your doctor may also send you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specialises in arthritis, for more tests.
Is there a cure for arthritis?
Currently there is no cure for most forms of arthritis. While there are treatments that can effectively control symptoms, you should be wary of any products or treatments that claim to cure arthritis.
Can arthritis be treated?
Many types of arthritis can be easily and effectively controlled by modern treatment. Early diagnosis and the right treatment can ease symptoms and may even prevent damage to your joints. Research has led to great improvements in this area. Because arthritis affects people in different ways, treatment has to be tailored to the needs of each person. It is important to work with your healthcare team to find treatments that suit you.
What can I do?
The good news is that there are many simple things you can do to live well with arthritis:
find out what type of arthritis is affecting you and learn about your treatment options
stay active: keep your joints moving and your muscles strong
learn ways to manage pain: there are many things you can do to help you cope with pain
manage tiredness: learn to balance rest and your normal activities
keep to a healthy weight: there is no diet that can cure arthritis but a well balanced diet is best for your general health
look after and protect your joints: find out about equipment and gadgets that can make tasks easier
acknowledge your feelings and seek support: as there is currently no cure for arthritis it is natural to feel scared, frustrated, sad and sometimes angry. Be aware of these feelings and get help if they start affecting your daily life.
For more information visit https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/ or make an appointment to see your doctor.