Osteoarthritis occurs as the daily activities of every day living slowly wear down the cartilage inside your joints, resulting in inflammation, pain and stiffness. Injury and infection can also contribute to arthritis and the speed at which it progresses, and osteoarthritis becomes much more common with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder that develops when the immune system begins to attack the joint lining. Both types of arthritis can affect the bones in the hands, fingers and wrists, although osteoarthritis is much more common.
Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause similar symptoms, including swelling, redness, stiffness and tenderness in the joints. As the diseases progress, these diseases can begin to significantly restrict range of motion and mobility, eventually causing joints to become deformed and resulting in loss of motion. Once the cartilage is completely destroyed, eventually the bony surfaces will grind against each other when the joint is moved, resulting in pain.
Treatment of arthritis depends on how far the disease has progressed; for best results and greatest improvement in pain relief and range of motion, early treatment is essential. Treatment begins conservatively, with medications, gentle stretching or strengthening exercises, corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and sometimes splinting to support the joint, especially in conjunction with injections. More severe cases can be treated with surgery to preserve or reconstruct the joint, sometimes using fusion techniques to make the joint immobile. Joint replacement is also an option for some patients. Dr. Feldman will discuss all your treatment options with you during your exam and evaluation.
Dr. Feldman accepts most major insurance providers. For questions regarding your specific plan, please call your insurance provider.
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