Arthritis is a common type of joint inflammation. Over three million Americans experience some form of arthritis each year. The term arthritis includes over 100 different types of inflammatory joint conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and lupus. Arthritis symptoms can cause joint stiffness, swelling, and soreness, especially in the shoulder, hip, knee, and hands.
If you would like to learn more about treatment for arthritis in Southern California, meet with a skilled orthopedic doctor at Dignity Health Southern California. To select one that’s right for you, use our online search tool to Find a Doctor.
Symptoms of Arthritis
While there are many forms of joint inflammation, they all include some degree of:
- Joint pain or soreness, especially with activity
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling and warmth
- Limited ability to bend a joint
Certain types of arthritis have specific symptoms. For instance, if you have osteoarthritis, you may hear a clicking or crackling sound when you bend your joint (specifically in the knee or hip).
Other forms of arthritis may cause:
- Muscle aches
- Skin redness
- Eye pain
If you have one or more of these symptoms, meet with one of our orthopedists at Dignity Health Southern California for a diagnosis and to receive personalized care. Early treatment can stop pain from getting worse and prevent the loss of mobility.
Causes of Arthritis
Arthritis has a wide variety of causes. Certain forms have specific causes.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and lupus can develop because of problems with the immune system attacking the body by mistake. In RA, the body produces antibodies that attack the lining of the joints. In lupus, the immune system attacks the joints and other areas of the body.
- Osteoarthritis is caused by gradual wear and tear on cartilage and bone. Joint injuries can also cause osteoarthritis years after injury.
- Gout occurs when uric acid crystals build in the joints. Excess uric acid can be caused a diet rich in purines, such as certain shellfish, game meats, and alcohol. Risk factors for gout include joint injury, diuretic medicines, dehydration, and weight loss.
Risk factors for arthritis are:
- Lack of regular physical exercise
- Being a woman (except for gout)
- Age 65 or older
- Being overweight
- Family history of arthritis
Treatment of Arthritis at Dignity Health Southern California
Your doctor can diagnose your symptoms and pinpoint the type of arthritis you have through a variety of tests. These include a review of your medical history, a physical exam, X-rays, blood tests, joint fluid analysis, and if necessary, arthroscopy to assess a damaged joint.
While arthritis cannot be cured, medications and therapies can help reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may recommend physical and occupational therapy to help you maintain flexibility and mobility in your joints.
At Dignity Health, our orthopedic departments extend compassionate care to treat arthritis in Southern California, utilizing the latest therapies to help people enjoy more active lifestyles.