When you hear the word arthritis, you might automatically think of an older person, with a condition that is a natural part of the aging process. However, there are over 100 types of arthritis, and each one is caused by different factors; some of them completely unrelated to age. Such is the case with post-traumatic arthritis.
What is Post Traumatic Arthritis?
As the name implies, post-traumatic arthritis is a condition that develops after trauma, such as a hard blow from a sporting activity or an auto accident. It occurs when the cartilage in the injured joint wears out as a result of the physical trauma. It can happen in any joint: ankle, knee, hip, wrist, elbow, or shoulder.
Post Traumatic Arthritis Symptoms
Signs that indicate post-traumatic arthritis include:
- Instability of the joint
- Lumps in the joint
- Fluid accumulation in the joint
These symptoms are exacerbated with any activity that involves the affected joint, or for a person who is overweight or obese, since excess weight adds stress to all joints.
Post Traumatic Arthritis Diagnosis
If you’ve experienced trauma, your doctor will perform a physical evaluation, paying special attention to the affected joint. They’ll ask questions about your lifestyle and medical history to determine whether you’re at risk for post-traumatic arthritis. If the doctor believes you have cartilage damage, they will likely order an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
Post Traumatic Arthritis Treatment
Conservative treatment options include anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate pain, as well as low impact exercises and weight training to strengthen the muscles around the joint and thus ease stress on the joint.
If conservative treatment doesn’t provide relief, your doctor may recommend surgery to reconstruct the joint. After surgery, your physician may very well prescribe physical therapy to help you regain joint mobility.
Post Traumatic Arthritis Risk Factors
Risk factors for developing post-traumatic arthritis include:
- Playing high impact sports
- Suddenly changing direction while running
- Stopping suddenly when running
- Having a previous injury in the joint
- Not wearing adequate protective equipment
- Previous joint surgery
- Being overweight
Post Traumatic Arthritis Prevention
Although some injuries cannot be prevented, you can lower the likelihood of trauma by wearing protective gear while playing sports, wearing a seatbelt while in a motor vehicle, and by maintaining a healthy weight to reduce the amount of stress on your joints. Every pound of extra weight adds four times the amount of stress to the joints, increasing the risk of breaking down cartilage.
Request an Appointment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If arthritis pain is making life difficult, let us help you. We’ll tailor a treatment plan that’s best for your lifestyle and get you back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.