What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe conditions affecting the joints and surrounding tissues. The two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA tends to occur with aging or after a joint injury and predominantly affects the fingers, knees, and hips. On the other hand, RA is an autoimmune disorder that primarily targets the lining of the joints, leading to painful swelling, which can eventually result in joint deformity.
What Causes Arthritis?
The causes of arthritis vary significantly depending on the type. Here’s a breakdown:
- Osteoarthritis: The cartilage – a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints, that wears away with age or due to injury, causing the bones to rub together, leading to osteoarthritis.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This type is caused by an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues, affecting the joint linings and causing painful swelling.
Other factors such as genetics, obesity, infections, or occupational hazards may also contribute to the onset or exacerbation of arthritis conditions.
What Are The Symptoms of Arthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis may vary from mild to severe and may include:
- Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
- Decreased range of motion.
- Redness and warmth around the joint area.
- In severe cases, joints may appear deformed.
It’s crucial to consult with healthcare professionals if you’re experiencing persistent symptoms of arthritis to get an accurate diagnosis and timely intervention.
What is The Treatment for Arthritis?
While there is no cure for arthritis, an effective treatment plan can significantly alleviate pain, improve joint function, and slow the progression of the disease. Treatment may include:
- Medication for pain relief and to reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy to maintain joint flexibility and strength.
Occupational therapy to learn how to perform daily activities without stressing your joints.
In severe cases, surgical procedures like joint replacement or joint fusion may be necessary.
What Can a Hand Therapist Do for Me?
Hand therapists are invaluable in providing relief and promoting optimal function of the hand and upper extremity. Here’s how they can help:
- Customized Exercise Programs: Designing exercises aimed at strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility, and improving range of motion.
- Pain Management: Utilizing various modalities like heat or cold therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to alleviate joint pain.
- Education: Teaching you about joint protection techniques, ergonomic principles, and adaptive strategies to prevent further joint damage and improve your performance in daily activities.
- Manual Therapy: Performing hands-on techniques to mobilize joints and soft tissues, reducing stiffness and pain.
- Assistive Devices: Recommending and educating on the use of adaptive equipment to help in daily tasks and to promote independence.
Ready for Relief? Call Us Today!
Don’t let arthritis slow you down. Take a proactive step towards better health and mobility by scheduling an appointment with our experienced therapists. At our Physical Therapy Clinic, we are committed to delivering personalized care aimed at meeting your unique needs and enhancing your quality of life. Call us today at 919-975-4309 to schedule your initial consultation and take the first step towards a pain-free life.
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“I found Dr. Bill by accident but am so happy I did! He genuinely listens to my concerns and works hard to get to the root cause of pain. After figuring out the problem, he works with me on stretches and fundamental changes to solve the problem, not just but a bandaid on it. After the first session, I saw improvements in my pain and left with some exercises/stretches as well as some tips for my weightlifting form to keep getting better. I still have a long way to go on my PT journey but I have significantly less pain and feel that working with Dr. Bill has been the catalyst for that. He cares more about people as a whole than about making money and is working hard to build his business to be a holistic practice to provide as much help and resources to his patients as possible. I am thankful I stumbled upon his practice!”
“Dr. Renkas was great! Helpful and informative. He identified the problem and quickly addressed it. He followed up to see how I was doing. He also was patient in answering all questions.”