What is arthritis?

The term arthritis literally means inflammation within a joint.

There are many types of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common form, with over 8 million people in the UK estimated to be affected. Usually occurring with age, it is frequently referred to as “wear and tear” of a joint and can have a huge impact on the lives of sufferers.

Osteoarthritis is often the most painful, as joints become stiff and inflamed because the smooth cartilage lining gets damaged and worn down. Without the protection of cartilage, the rough surfaces of your bones rub together as you move; causing the pain that is all too common for sufferers, often making simple, everyday tasks difficult.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis can be similar to those of osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system – which normally protects the body by attacking foreign substances like bacteria and viruses – mistakenly attacks the joints. It can cause arthritis in any joint, including in the hips and knees and, if untreated rheumatoid arthritis can cause permanent joint damage.

Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis are conditions that unfortunately develop and get worse over time. However, with treatments continually improving, many people find that they can manage their condition through a combination of medication and adjustments to their lifestyle.

Surgery may be a consideration if:

  • Your pain is severely affecting your quality of life
  • You are struggling to carry out daily activities, such as dressing, shopping or working
  • Your joint is severely damaged

Your specialist consultant at The Hip and Knee Clinic North East will talk to you about your diagnosis and the treatment options that are available. You will no doubt have many questions; whatever these are, we are here to help. Our personalised approach assures that you will always receive the best expert advice and the most appropriate treatment, all delivered by leading hip and knee specialists in the area.