Don’t Let Arthritis Slow You Down

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in five adults in the U.S have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. It can affect people of any age. However, 49.7 percent of those age 65 and older have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Although there are more than 100 types of joint inflammation known as arthritis, the most common is osteoarthritis. The CDC estimates that 27 million adults have osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most often affects the knees, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck, as well as the small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe. For those with osteoarthritis, the cartilage that promotes smooth joint motion breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. It worsens over time and in its final stages, the cartilage erodes until bone rubs against bone resulting in greater pain and joint damage.

Although there are no known arthritis cures, the right treatments can greatly reduce your pain, improve joint function and prevent further joint damage.

Many patients are treated with medications, such as anti-inflammatory pain medications and menthol or capsaicin creams that block pain signals from the joints.

Physical therapy that incorporates exercise to strengthen muscles around the affected joint is a key element in arthritis treatment. Joint surgery can repair or replace severely damaged joints, especially hips or knees. New joint replacement technologies and techniques, such as minimally invasive surgical techniques significantly reduce recovery and rehabilitation time.

The Methodist Hospitals Total Joint Replacement Program is focused on optimizing patient outcomes with the goal of eliminating pain and improving function. Our surgeons employ advanced technologies, such as Northwest Indiana’s first Multi-Specialty Navigational Surgery Suite, and the latest techniques, such as anterior hip replacements and multi-modal pain management.

Its coordinated approach also features preoperative education, the most advanced technologies and practices, a dedicated hotel-quality inpatient unit, complete inpatient and

outpatient rehab and a 24-month post-operative patient follow-up program.

Arthritis patients can also make lifestyle changes to help manage their arthritis. Most notably, regular exercise, a nutritious diet with lots of antioxidants and maintaining a healthy weight make treatments more effective.

The key to living a full life with arthritis is to address it as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing chronic joint pain, don’t make the mistake of trying to live with it. See your doctor. Get an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment before the pain gets worse and affects your quality of life.

Alfred Bonjean, MD, is a board-certified, Methodist Physician Group orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Alfred Bonjean Dr. Alfred Bonjean, MD with the Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center in Merrillville, Indiana is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with more than 35 years experience in the field. Dr. Bonjean began his medical education at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. While serving in the military, he took up the specialty of orthopedics and, today, he has a certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He’s also a fellow of the American College of Surgeon and a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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