Doctor's Search

Don’t let arthritis stop you.

July 21, 2017

What is arthritis?

Many people start to feel pain and stiffness in their bodies over time. Sometimes different joints may become hard to move and may become swollen. These could be signs that you may have arthritis. Some signs of inflammation include redness, heat, pain, and swelling. These problems are telling you that something is wrong.

Joints are places where two bones meet, such as your elbow or knee. In an arthritic patient, joints become irregular and painful. It’s true that arthritis can be painful. But there are things you can do to feel better.

What are the types of arthritis?

There are several types of arthritis. Two of the most common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This condition usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows an injury to a joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the body’s own defense system doesn’t work properly. It affects joints and bones (often of the hands and feet), and may also affect internal organs and systems. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.

Another common type of arthritis, gout, is caused by crystals that build up in the joints. It usually affects the big toe, but many other joints may be affected.

Do I have arthritis?

Pain is the way your body tells you that something is wrong. Most types of arthritis cause pain in your joints. You might have trouble moving around. Some kinds of arthritis can affect different parts of your body

What can I do?

Make an appointment to see us at Gulf Coast Orthopedics. Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis or a related condition and what to do about it. It’s important not to wait.

You’ll need to tell the doctor how you feel and where you hurt. The doctor will examine you and may take x-rays of your bones or joints. The x-rays don’t hurt and aren’t dangerous. You may also have to give a little blood for tests that will help the doctor decide what kind of arthritis you may have.

After the doctor knows what kind of arthritis you have, he or she will talk with you about the best way to treat it. An over-the-counter medicine can sometimes be used to relieve the pain of arthritis. Other times the doctor may give you a prescription for medicine that will help with the pain, stiffness, and inflammation. The prescription may include medication to take orally or perhaps a cream to apply directly to your aching joints.

What if I still hurt?

Sometimes you might still have pain after using your medicine. Here are some things to try:

  • Take a warm shower in the morning
  • Do some gentle stretching exercises.
  • Use an ice pack on the sore area.
  • Rest the sore joint.
  • Try to keep your weight down. Too much weight can make your knees and hips hurt.
  • Exercise. Moving all of your joints will help you. The doctor or nurse can show you how to move more easily. Going for a walk every day will help, too.
  • Take your medicines when and how you are supposed to. They can help reduce pain and stiffness.
  • See your doctor regularly.
  • Seek information that can help you.
Posted in Blog