Arthritis is a term used to describe a number of conditions that affect the joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the most common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is usually caused by the overuse of a joint and general wear and tear, which cause the cartilage within the joint to deteriorate. Cartilage is the tough, shock absorbing layer of tissue that covers the ends of many of our bones and forms a smooth, protective surface to allow the bones in our joints to glide over during motion. If the cartilage becomes damaged, it can cause painful bone on bone rubbing. Symptoms can include joint stiffness, swelling, weakness, reduced mobility, and a reduced range of motion, making day to day activities difficult. Osteoarthritis is most prevalent among older people, in women, and in people who work on their feet. It can also result from an injury or from obesity, which puts added stress on joints, particularly the knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most serious and disabling forms of arthritis, and is an autoimmune disease. This means your own immune system, which usually fights off germs, starts to attack your joints instead. It causes the protective membrane that covers joints, called synovium, to become inflamed, preventing it from working properly and leading to friction between the bones. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the cartilage, bones, and tissues in joints to deteriorate, causing permanent damage. Its symptoms including joint pain, swelling, and stiffness and can lead to hand deformities, joint malalignment, and loss of function. It is a chronic condition that usually affects the hands, feet, and wrists, but it can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body.
Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid which can cause crystals to build up within a joint. Uric acid is a chemical produced by the body to break down certain foods that contain compounds called purines. Conditions such as blood disorders and those that affect metabolism, can cause the body to produce too much uric acid, and kidney or thyroid problems can make it harder for the body to remove excess uric acid. Gout can cause sudden and intense pain most often in the big toe, but it can occur in any joint. The joint can become red and inflamed and feel tender and warm to the touch. It can become chronic and permanently damage joints if not treated promptly.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the skin and joints. It is thought to be an auto-immune disease which can become progressively worse if not diagnosed and treated early. Symptoms can be similar to rheumatoid arthritis, often affecting the fingers and toes, and can vary from mild to severe. Affected joints can become painful, stiff and swollen, and in severe cases, it can leave joints permanently damaged or deformed. Psoriatic symptoms can include scaly, raised, red patched of inflamed skin usually on elbows, knees, scalp, and genitals.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in any part of the body, but most commonly in the joints, skin, and internal organs, such as the heart and kidneys. Because it can affect many parts of the body, it can cause many different symptoms, such as joint pain, swelling in the feet, legs, and hands, severe fatigue, rashes, skin lesions, chest pains, and headaches.
Arthritis Treatment in Austin, Cedar Park, and Marble Falls, Texas
If you have arthritis and it is causing acute or chronic pain, call Balcones Pain Consultants. Our experienced pain specialists take a compassionate approach to diagnosing and treating underlying conditions to restore your health and dramatically improve your overall quality of life. We will work with you to identify and develop the most effective course of treatment for your specific needs.
If you would like more information about the treatments we offer, call us today to make an appointment at one of our three convenient locations in Austin, Cedar Park, and Marble Falls. Call us at (512) 834-4141 or request an appointment now. We look forward to making your life as pain-free as possible.