Arthritis means: “Joint inflammation”
There are two main types of Arthritis: Degenerative and Rheumatoid.
Degenerative Arthritis (osteoarthritis): This is the result of wear and tear in the joints, just like “rusty hinges.” Most people get some degree of degenerative arthritis with age. Often there is a mild degree of involvement and no treatment is needed. Some people need an exercise program, medication or a cortisone injection to control their problem, and others may need surgery.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is usually a more diffuse type of arthritis that could be crippling if severe and neglected. Early treatment with education, therapy, medication, and sometimes surgery will help control this disease; deformities can be prevented or corrected, and function can be preserved.
Surgery: Surgery for arthritis consists of either joint preservation or joint replacement. If a joint is mildly involved, it may be preserved by removing inflamed tissue and realigning the tendons and ligaments around it. If a joint is severely involved it may be fused or replaced; while a fusion eliminates the painful motion and provides stability and strength, a joint replacement provides painless motion that may be important in some joints. Usually a combination of these procedures is tailored to each patient’s needs.