Family Practice, PA

Internal Medicine located in Hitchcock, TX

Arthritis is a chronic health condition that affects more than 50 million Americans. It’s a painful inflammation of the joints and can significantly affect your quality of life. With years of experience in family practice, the team at Family Practice, PA, in Hitchcock, Texas, has firsthand knowledge of how arthritis affects lives and can help you manage your symptoms. Call the office or book an appointment online today.

Arthritis Q & A

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder. That means in people with RA, the immune system attacks the joints in the body, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.

RA is more common in women and usually develops between the ages of 30 and 60. You’re also more likely to develop RA if you have a family history of it.

RA often affects joints in the hands, wrists, knees, ankles, and feet.  If not treated, RA can cause damage to the cartilage and bones, leading to more pain and deformity.  

How is rheumatoid arthritis managed?

Treatment for RA includes medication, reducing stress on joints, and, in some cases, surgery.

Medication is typically the first line of defense, and the team might recommend and prescribe:

  • Anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs to decrease effects of the disease

The team may recommend physical therapy and occupational therapy to teach you how to continue to move your joints to minimize pain and inflammation.

He may also recommend surgery to improve joint mobility. Surgical options include joint replacement or synovectomy, which is the partial or complete removal of the synovial membrane.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a degenerative form of arthritis that occurs due to the reduction in cartilage in between joints. The loss of cartilage causes the bones to rub together, resulting in pain and swelling. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time.

Osteoarthritis is more common than RA and affects nearly 27 million Americans. Those most at risk include people who are obese, seniors, and people with prior joint injuries. Joints affected by osteoarthritis include the neck, back, knees, hips, and joints in the fingers and toes.

How is osteoarthritis managed?

Treatment options for osteoarthritis include:

  • Medication
  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Surgery

The most important thing to do when you’re dealing with osteoarthritis is to stay active. For the patients who can, we recommend 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. If you have physical limitations, we might suggest stretching exercises.

Medications used to treat osteoarthritis include anti-inflammatories, analgesics, and corticosteroids. Joint injections are also used to manage pain and inflammation, which our team offers in the office.

If your joints are severely damaged, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.

If you’re struggling with joint pain, call the team at Family Practice, PA, today to start treatment right away.