At the Center for Sports & Regenerative Orthopedics in Alexandria, VA, we can help you address Osteoarthritis issues and restore daily mobility and function - with an array of treatment options we have successfully used with our patients.
A degenerative joint disease, Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. The joints that are most often impacted by Osteoarthritis include the knees, hands and fingers, hips, lower back and neck. The tissues in the joints break down over time, and it most commonly occurs and worsens as people age. Sufferers experience chronic joint pain and will often experience stiffness after periods of inactivity or rest. For some, Osteoarthritis leads to excruciating pain and disability, while others experience only mild pain that doesn’t disrupt day-to-day life.
There is no clear consensus among researchers as to what causes the breakdown of joint tissue in cases of Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can be triggered either by a sudden injury or damage over time. Osteoarthritis most often occurs in people who are in their late 40s and older, and is the result of a wearing down of the joints that occurs slowly over time – degeneration that occurs naturally as you age. This may be due to physical changes that come with aging, such as weakened muscles and loss of muscle mass, weight gain that puts added pressure on the joints, or the body becoming less able to recover and heal.
In addition to aging and injury/ trauma, other risk factors increase the odds of developing Osteoarthritis, including diabetes, elevated cholesterol, gender, and genetics. Obesity is also a major risk factor for Osteoarthritis, especially in the knee.
In most cases, this degenerative damage can be relatively painless at first, and people are unaware of the joint destruction as it begins.
As Osteoarthritis develops, it can damage all parts of the joint – from cartilage and bone, to tendons and ligaments. Even the synovium – the lining of the joint – can be affected. As joint damage progresses, pain, swelling, and loss of motion develop. The symptoms lead often lead to reduced activity levels and resulting muscle loss and weakness – which then stresses the joint further.
Osteoarthritis is a disease that feeds its own progress. Over time, the joint not only begins to lose its normal shape, but may also exhibit small bone growths, or bone spurs. The shape of the bone may also change. Pieces of cartilage and bone may break off and float within the joint, causing further damage.
Even people with relatively mild cases of Osteoarthritis can have excruciating flare-ups. The most common trigger is trauma to the joint. Other triggers can include infection, excess inflammation, overdoing certain activities, bone spurs, stress, repetitive motions, an increase in your weight, and even cold weather or a sudden change in barometric pressure.
How do you know if you have Osteoarthritis? Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis include:
We will perform a physical exam and a medical history, including questions about any injuries or family history that may have led to your condition. For a proper diagnosis, it is common to use x-rays or imaging tests like MRIs, or ultrasounds to assess joint damage. Generally, ultrasound is our preferred imaging test for diagnosis.
Conventional treatment methods for Osteoarthritis usually include the following:
At the Center for Sports & Regenerative Orthopedics in Alexandria, VA, we usually begin with the ultrasound exam and typically offer physical therapy and exercises to improve body mechanics as our first-line approach.
We may also use Dry Needling which primarily functions to stimulate circulation in the targeted areas. Increasing blood flow to the joints can help reduce the inflammation that occurs with Osteoarthritis. In patient with injuries, ultrasound-guided and Trigger Point Injections are also safe and effective.
Focused ultrasound therapy is a rapidly evolving therapeutic technology with the potential to revolutionize noninvasive treatment of Osteoarthritis. Focusing beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue stimulates healing. It is safe and repeatable.
If these methods do not help, we may try other methods, like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP). Research has shown that PRP is highly effective for treating Osteoarthritis-impacted joints – and often makes joint replacement surgery unnecessary. All our treatment methods have an excellent track record and have brought impressive results for our patients in the Alexandria VA area.
For more questions about our array of treatment methods, speak with our experts today to see which might be the best treatment option for you. Call (240) 754-7954.
What would it be like to see increased function again and relieve debilitating pain, stiffness and weakness from Osteoarthritis? Let our team of experts at the Center for Sports & Regenerative Orthopedics help you achieve your healing goals – so you can live a life free from pain and immobility!