Post-traumatic arthritis is a prevalent form of osteoarthritis and develops after sustaining physical injury to any joint. In most cases, it affects the knee, hip and ankle.
Post-traumatic arthritis is brought about by wearing out of a joint that sustained physical injury. An injury can be caused by sports, falls, vehicular accidents or other forms of physical trauma. The injuries can impair the cartilage and/or bone, altering the mechanics of the joint as well as allowing it to wear out more rapidly. This wearing out process is made more rapid by the continued damage and excess weight of the body.
What are the signs?
The usual indications of post-traumatic arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Buildup of fluid in the joint
- Reduced tolerance to walking, climbing stairs, sports and other activities that strain the joint
Management of post-traumatic arthritis
The treatment for post-traumatic arthritis generally starts with low impact activity, weight loss and strengthening of the muscles bordering the joint as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The affected joints might be injected with cortisone or substances that function as artificial joint fluid. All these measures are aimed on making the joint more comfortable and functional but will not cure arthritis.
Once the condition progresses to a point where these measures are not effective in dealing with the discomfort and preserving function, surgical intervention might be suggested.
Surgery might involve debridement, reconstruction or replacement of the worn joint surfaces. Always bear in mind that post-traumatic arthritis continues over time. The joint surface continues to deteriorate with usage as the years pass.
Luckily, if the conservative measures are not effective, surgery can provide longer-lasting relief to the symptoms.