JOPLIN, Mo. — This week marks National Arthritis Day – a disease that affects nearly 40 million patients in the U.S.
Dr. Thomas Sanders, Orthopedic Surgeon, said, “The first thing they’re going to feel is pain and then they’re going to go to their doctor. And their doctor is going to get an x-ray. And that’s how we make the initial diagnosis of arthritis.”
It comes from seeing a collapse of joint space. Next is pinpointing the cause.
“Is it the wear and tear kind of arthritis – which is osteo arthritis or is it more of the auto-immune type condition which we call rheumatoid arthritis. Osteo arthritis by far is the most common type we see. Usually it has to do with wear and tear over the course of time as we age. But any injury that you have to your knee or other joint can predispose that joint to developing arthritis in the future.”
Bone spurs can be one sign.
“Commonly the bone spurs are not causing the problem – they’re just the clue to us that there’s arthritis present in the knee.”
The are easy treatments that will help some patients – anti-inflammatory medications and injections.
“When those things don’t work and when people really have a lot of pain and dysfunction from their arthritis, then we talk to them about joint replacement surgery.”