About Arthritis – did you know?
- Arthritis is the name for a range of conditions – around 200 in total – that affect the joints, tissues surrounding the joint and other connective tissues.
- Around 10 million people in the UK are believed to have arthritis.
- While arthritis can affect people of any age, the most common forms of arthritis tend to occur in older people.
- The exact cause of arthritis isn’t always clear. Genes may play a part and certain lifestyle choices may increase the risk of developing the disease. Injury, abnormal metabolism, infection and autoimmune system dysfunction may also contribute.
- The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
- To diagnose arthritis your doctor will likely need you to undertake an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan to check for signs of joint inflammation or degenerative features.
- Nerve tests are used to check whether there is disruption to electrical activity in the nerves supplying the surrounding muscles.
- Blood tests may be used to rule out some forms of inflammatory arthritis and in some instances the doctor may need to test a sample of joint fluid or muscle tissue.
- 7 out of 10 people living with a long-term musculoskeletal condition are overweight or obese.
- Osteoarthritis (also called wear and tear arthritis) – is often linked to ageing. It is caused by the cartilage, which lines the joint and helps it to move smoothly, becoming worn or damaged. This prevents the joint from working properly and may cause bony growths (osteophytes) to form and the joint lining to swell.
- Around 8.75 million people in the UK have osteoarthritis.
- Joint pain, stiffness and swelling are the most common symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- 90% of patients undergoing hip replacement surgery have osteoarthritis (2018).
- 98% of patients undergoing knee replacement surgery have osteoarthritis (2018).
About other types of arthritis
- Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis, which typically affects the big toe. It is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, which may be influenced by genes as well as consuming certain types of food and alcoholic drinks.
- Gout is more common in men from their mid-20s, whereas women are more likely to develop the condition after the menopause. Around 1.6 million people have gout.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune condition which means the body’s own immune system, which normally protects against infections, mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, in this case the joints. The result is inflammation which causes pain and stiffness in the joint and damage to the bones and joint. Over 430,000 people have rheumatoid arthritis in the UK.
- Psoriatic arthritis is another auto-immune condition. It causes pain and stiffness in the joints and a red scaly skin rash called psoriasis which occurs most commonly on the elbows, knees, scalp, buttocks and back.
Treatment options for arthritis
- The aim of treatment is to control pain, minimise joint damage and allow you to function as fully as possible.
- Non-surgical treatments may include; pain relieving medication, lifestyle changes such as losing weight or changes to diet which can help to reduce inflammation, exercise and physiotherapy.
- It is important to carefully balance activity with rest and maintain good sleep habits to prevent fatigue.
- Have you heard of warm water therapy? This involves exercising in a warm-water pool and can help reduce inflammation.
- Occupational therapy is important to show you how to perform everyday tasks to protect the joints from further damage.
- Natural therapies including certain supplements like Devil’s claw and Boswellia and spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, black pepper and green tea may help, in some cases.
- Electronic pain relief with a TENS machine may help by blocking or suppressing nerve pain messages.
Joint replacement – quick facts
- Surgery may be offered for the most severe forms of arthritis in patients who have significant pain and loss of function.
- Joint replacement surgery entails removing the damaged joint and replacing it with an artificial implant.
- The average age for hip replacement surgery is 67.6 for men and 70 for women (2018).
- The average age for knee replacement surgery is 69.3 for men and 69.6 for women (2018).
- Knee replacement surgery is more common in women, who account for 56% of all procedures (2018).
- In the case of knee arthritis, you may be offered a partial or a total knee replacement depending on which parts of the knee are affected.
- Did you know that orthopaedic consultants use technology to help with their surgery? Mako robotic arm assisted surgery may be offered for hip and knee joint replacement procedures, helping to improve accuracy, minimise soft tissue and ligament damage and promote faster recovery.
- In 2018, 97,792 primary hip replacement procedures were recorded with the National Joint Registry.
- The number of primary total knee replacements recorded was 102,944.
- Did you Know… Cemented hip replacements are when the artificial stem and cup are fixed in place with bone cement. You may also be given an uncemented hip replacement where the stem and cup are ‘press fitted’ into place or a hybrid procedure where the stem but not the cup is cemented.
These are of course just facts and figures. If you have arthritis or you have symptoms but don’t yet have a diagnosis, talk to us about the options for rapid diagnosis and a treatment plan that can help you manage the symptoms and continue living a full and active life.
Carrothers Orthopaedics Consultations – Cambridge
Carrothers Orthopaedics is currently open and scheduling clinic appointments again, as well as surgery, however the safety of patients and staff remains our number one priority at all times. We are happy to discuss fully the risks and benefits of any proposed orthopaedic surgery, in the context of the ongoing UK Covid-19 pandemic.
Our consultation fees are clearly presented here.
For your convenience, we offer appointments at both Nuffield Hospital Cambridge and Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.