Are your joints creaking or cracking because of the weather–or could arthritis be the cause?
Wear and tear of cartilage in a joint is called osteoarthritis (commonly just arthritis). The most common form of the disease, osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects about 27 million Americans, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Symptoms include progressively worsening pain plus joint swelling, limited joint mobility, grinding of joints and stiffness. It may affect a single joint or multiple joints simultaneously.
If you notice these changes in your body, contact your physician to find relief. While no current treatments reverse the disease, orthopedic specialists can treat the pain and stiffness it causes.
Nonsurgical options to treat osteoarthritis include pain-relief medicine, physical therapy, anti-inflammation medication and corticosteroid injections.
If these interventions don’t provide enough relief or are unsuitable for other reasons, arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgery) can help restore pain-free functioning. Depending on the cause and severity of arthritis, a surgeon may employ minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to remove debris from the joint or to repair or replace cartilage. For severe osteoarthritis, joint replacement relieves pain and restores function and motion.