There are few health conditions more painful and debilitating than osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people in the United States and around the world. While this condition most commonly affects the arms, hands, knees, hips, and spinal areas, it can strike anywhere at any time.
If you or a loved one has osteoarthritis, you’ve likely had it diagnosed by an orthopedic arthritis doctor or orthopedic physician. Orthopedic physicians are specially licensed and trained to deal with osteoarthritis and similar conditions. In this article, we’ll look at what the orthopedic physicians at the Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinic can do for you and how they can treat your osteoarthritis.
They Can Diagnose Your Condition and Prepare You for Treatment
Osteoarthritis is a tricky disease that can be difficult to diagnose. The typical symptoms can also manifest in numerous other conditions, which means that you need a specially trained physician to diagnose and treat osteoarthritis. That’s where an orthopedic physician comes in.
Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage that forms a cushion around your bones and joints wears down. The result is that the ends of your bones start to rub and grind together, creating friction, which causes excruciating pain. Here are some of the symptoms you’ll experience if you have osteoarthritis.
- Pain and stiffness in your bones and joints
- Tenderness and loss of flexibility in the affected areas
- A grating or grinding sensation
- Bone spurs and swelling
Unfortunately, these symptoms aren’t always unique to osteoarthritis. If you’re experiencing any of these things, you should see an orthopedic specialist immediately. Orthopedic physicians have the knowledge, testing abilities, and experience necessary to diagnose your condition. Here are some of the tests they will conduct to diagnose osteoarthritis.
While cartilage doesn’t show up on x-rays, orthopedists can detect cartilage loss if there’s a gap between the bones where cartilage should be. This, along with bone spurs around the joint, will show up on x-rays and indicate osteoarthritis.
MRIs are typically secondary tests after diagnosis of osteoarthritis to provide additional information on tough cases.
You should note that a blood test won’t confirm osteoarthritis. However, this condition is often confused with rheumatoid arthritis, and a blood test will rule out rheumatoid arthritis as a possible cause of your symptoms.
Joint Fluid Analysis
Joint fluid analysis tests are used to rule out infections and other causes of inflammation as the reason for your pain.
Do You Need to See an Orthopedic Physician or a Rheumatologist for Osteoarthritis?
A common question that people have regarding diagnosing and treating osteoarthritis is if they should see a rheumatologist or an orthopedic physician. Technically, both medical professionals are capable of diagnosing and treating osteoarthritis.
However, they differ in the way that they treat osteoarthritis. Rheumatologists typically use non-surgical methods such as medications and less invasive treatments. On the other hand, Orthopedic physicians use these treatment methods and can perform surgery if necessary.
Both professions are more than capable of initial diagnosis, but orthopedic physicians have the advantage of advanced treatment and surgery options.
Treatments for Osteoarthritis Performed by Orthopedic Physicians
There are several treatment options for osteoarthritis, all of which the Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinic is skilled in. Treatment options range from medications and therapies to surgical remedies to reverse the damage of osteoarthritis. Let’s take a look at a few of them now.
Over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol and acetaminophen are useful for reducing the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. However, as your condition worsens, you will likely require prescription drugs from your orthopedic physician.
Some exercises and movements are useful for reducing the pain and improving the mobility of bones and joints impacted by osteoarthritis. Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinic is equipped with some of the best physical therapists. A physical therapist will provide physician-assisted exercises and treatments and exercises you can do at home to help ease the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These exercises will also help restore the movement and flexibility of the bones and joints affected.
Where orthopedic physicians are head and shoulders ahead of rheumatologists is in the surgical procedures they’re capable of performing. Advanced cases of osteoarthritis may require cortisone injections, lubrication injections, surgical bone realignment, or joint replacement surgery. The orthopedic surgeons at Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics can perform these procedures on all manner of osteoarthritis. No matter where this disease has affected you, we are ready and able to provide surgical remedies.