Friday, February 2, 2018

PT Pathologies: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition where cartilage in the joints break down and the result is pain, inflammation and problems in moving the joint.  The condition is a degenerative disease and a fairly common join condition.  There are two different forms of osteoarthritis, and although they do not necessarily feel different, there is a difference in what causes them.  The first form is called the Primary Form, and it is largely related to the process of someone getting older, and it is most generally found in the joints of the hands.  Primary is said to be due to wear and tear on a joint.  The condition is mainly a chronic disorder where the cartilage in the synovial joints is broken down, resulting in a significant decrease in range of motion in the affect joint as well as possible crepitus.  The main complaint that these patients have is usually and aching pain in the joint.  Studies show the approximately 80-90% of people over the age of 65 show some sort of evidence of the Primary form of OA.  The leading cause of diability in elderly people is OA in the knee joints.

       There is a Secondary Form of osteoarthritis, and it is the breakdown of cartilage due to a predisposing factor, such as trauma or injury to a joint in the body.  An example of the second form would be a teenager hurting their ankle nee or hand while playing a sport.  Patients who deal with secondary are usually in sudden pain so they are looking for immediate treatment to help alleviate the issue.  One treatment used that can quickly help with pain in a joint would be an injection of a glucocorticoid.  This injection would be given directly into the joint.  Even though this is a very effective method for immediate relief there is a negative result to consider.  While the short term effects are great for pain, some possible side effects of multiple injections include tissue damage due to repeated injections, thinning of cartilage and weakening of the ligaments.  Aside from injections, some other treatment options include relaxations exercises icing and heating therapies and hydro therapy depending on what form of osteoarthritis the patient has.  Physical therapy can help keep range of motion in the joint and minimize the effects of this disorder.  By improving mobility and increasing the strength of the joint, physical therapy would allow for as much independence for the patient as possible , based on the patient's tolerance.


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