Here's How Arthritis Affects Your Joints

If you suffer from arthritis, you know firsthand how painful this condition can be. Your joints are always stiff and the symptoms make it hard to perform simple, everyday tasks like opening a door or buttoning your shirt. 

Here at Mehling Orthopedics, our expert surgeons and medical team want to help you understand how arthritis affects your joints and offer some effective treatment options that can relieve pain and help you regain mobility. 

Our team specializes in orthopedic surgery and regenerative medicine so we can best serve patients of all ages in Hackensack, New Jersey, and West Islip, New York, who deal with arthritis on a daily basis. Take a few minutes to understand more about how arthritis affects your joints and discover what you can do to get relief. 

Understand your joints

You have several different types of joints in your body and arthritis can affect any of them. For example, ball-and-socket joints are large joints like your hips and shoulders. These joints allow for a full range of motion, including rotation, so you can swing your arms and legs in a circular motion. 

Hinge joints, like your knees, elbows, and fingers, allow you to bend and straighten your arms, legs, fingers, and toes. A pivot joint connects your head to your neck and allows you to tilt your head from side to side, forward and back, and partial rotation left to right. 

Ellipsoidal joints allow a variety of free movements except for pivotal rotation. Your wrist joint is an example of an ellipsoidal joint. 

Arthritis affects your moveable joints and often its symptoms make it hard to get through the day without pain. 

Osteoarthritis: Cartilage is most often the culprit

All your moving joints are surrounded by cartilage — the firm, but flexible connective tissue that helps your joints move freely. Cartilage also provides cushioning around the bones that come together in each joint. As cartilage breaks down over the years as a result of normal wear-and-tear or after an orthopedic injury or infection, you can develop osteoarthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting millions of adults all over the world. As cartilage breaks down or becomes inflamed, you experience joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis commonly affects your knees, hips, hands, and spine, making it difficult for you to move freely, tie your shoes, or walk without pain. 

It’s not possible to completely reverse damage from osteoarthritis, but you may be able to prevent the progression of cartilage deterioration in your joints by staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Treatments may include physical therapy, medications, and joint injections to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. 

In severe cases, surgical joint repair and joint replacement may be necessary to help you regain full mobility and get long-term pain relief.

Lifestyle and home remedies can help your joints stay flexible

In addition to any medications or therapies the Mehling Orthopedics team prescribes for your specific type of arthritis, getting regular exercise can help strengthen the muscles around weak joints. Hot and cold therapies may also reduce swelling and dull the pain of arthritis. And it certainly helps not to carry around excess body weight that puts even more stress on arthritic joints. 

At Mehling Orthopedics, we take a comprehensive, personalized approach to diagnosing and treating your arthritis and helping you manage symptoms long-term. Give us a call at the office closest to you to schedule a consultation today. It’s your first step toward joint pain relief. 

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