Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that can occur in various locations throughout the body including:

  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Wrists
  • Hands
  • Spine
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which results from overuse, trauma or the degeneration of joint cartilage that occurs with age. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage covering the ends of the bone gradually wears away. In many cases, bone growths called “spurs” develop at the edges of osteoarthritic joints, and the bone can become hard and firm (sclerosis). The joint becomes inflamed, causing pain and swelling and making continued use of the joint painful.

Osteoarthritis is often more painful in joints that bear weight, like the knee, hip and spine. However, joints that are used extensively in work or sports, or joints that have been damaged from fractures or other injuries may show signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Weakness (atrophy) in the muscles
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Limited ability to move the joint passively (with assistance) and actively (without assistance)
  • Grating feeling or sound (crepitus) with movement
  • Pain when pressure is placed on the joint or the joint is moved
  • Signs that other joints are painful or swollen (an indication of rheumatoid arthritis)

Through careful evaluation of symptoms and a physical examination, our physicians are able to properly diagnose arthritic conditions. X-rays also play an important role in showing the extent of damage to the joints, and blood and other laboratory tests can help determine the exact type of arthritis.

Arthritis Treatment Options

Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are typically treated by a team of healthcare professionals. These specialists may include rheumatologists, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists and orthopaedic surgeons.

Non-surgical options to reduce pain and stiffness and improve function include:

For patients with severe cases of arthritis, orthopaedic surgery can often provide dramatic pain relief and restore lost joint function. Surgical options include arthroscopy for mechanical symptoms and total or partial arthroplasty.

In most cases, patients with arthritis can continue to perform their normal daily activities. But, if left untreated, arthritis can progress and lead to worsening dysfunction and pain. Joints can swell, become tender to the touch and stiffen up when left immobile for too long.

All Access Sports Medicine’s doctors can treat patients with arthritis. While some may specialize in certain parts of the body, the treatment of arthritis is often a non-operative one that can be initiated by any provider.

Locations

Dover

19 Webb Place
Dover, NH 03820

Rochester

120 Washington Street Suite 101
Rochester, NH 03839

Portsmouth

155 Borthwick Avenue, Suite 102
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Plaistow

13 Plaistow Road
Plaistow, NH 03865

Raymond

6 Freetown Road
Raymond, NH 03077

Exeter

1 Hampton Road
Exeter, NH 03833

30 Million

The number of adults in the U.S. that are affected by osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Understanding Arthritis Pain

There are many treatment options available for the various types of arthritis. All Access Sports Medicine physicians and locations are equipped to diagnose and treat patients with arthritis pain.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is at risk for developing arthritis?

There are certain factors that are associated with a greater risk for developing arthritis, including older age, genetics, obesity, joint injuries, infections and overuse of the joints

Can I prevent arthritis?

The different types of arthritis can affect patients differently, meaning the causes vary. But maintaining a healthy body weight has been shown to decrease the chances of developing gout and osteoarthritis. It’s also wise to protect joints from overuse and injury.

How can I tell if I have arthritis?

There are many common symptoms of arthritis, including weak muscles, pain when applying pressure to the joints, tenderness and swollen joints.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should visit a specializing physician for a proper diagnosis. The doctor will begin by understanding your full medical history, performing a physical examination and taking X-rays and blood work.

Will cracking my knuckles cause arthritis?

Studies have shown that knuckle cracking does not directly cause arthritis. However, those who are frequent knuckle-crackers are more likely to have swollen hands and reduced grip strength.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive disease that occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack tissues, including the joints, and causes very painful swelling. Physical therapy and medication can help slow the progression of the disease.