If you’re living with arthritis, you’re not alone. Statistics show that more than 50 million American adults have arthritis, a number projected to reach 78 million by the year 2040.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 related disorders that cause joint inflammation. Most share similar symptoms, including joint pain, stiffness and swelling.

People with arthritis may have difficulty performing normal daily activities. These include walking, grasping a pen or getting in and out of a car. Advanced arthritis can also cause permanent joint damage or deformities, including twisted fingers. 

Types of Arthritis

The two most common types of arthritis are:

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is also known as degenerative joint disease. It occurs when cartilage (a protective tissue on the ends of our bones) breaks down and wears away. When bone rubs against bone, it causes pain, swelling and other symptoms. OA can get worse with age. It often affects weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees but can affect any joint such as the fingers and spine.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) 

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your body’s immune system begins to attack itself. Besides causing joint inflammation, RA can spread beyond the joints. For example, it can cause a skin condition called psoriasis and harm your heart, kidneys and eyes.

No matter what type of arthritis you have, it can get worse over time – especially if left untreated.

Arthritis Treatment at Mercy

Mercy’s orthopedic and rheumatology doctors can help you get the personalized treatment you need. Our team has experience caring for most forms of arthritis, including aggressive or rare types. We diagnose patients whose symptoms point to arthritis. And we work with patients who have been managing their condition for years.

Early treatments for arthritis include medicine to reduce pain and inflammation. You may also benefit from physical therapy, which can help improve muscle strength and range of motion. Injections can also be used to treat arthritis in joints to improve quality of life and potentially delay surgical treatment.

Mercy’s orthopedic surgeons also specialize in joint replacement surgery. Procedures such as knee replacement and hip replacement may eliminate pain and restore movement – even after other treatments have failed.

Your treatment plan will depend on the type of arthritis you have, your age and the severity of your symptoms. Together we’ll find ways to manage your pain, maintain joint function and improve your quality of life.

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