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At The Center for Knee Arthritis, we treat patients with osteoarthritis. Among the 100+ types of arthritis, osteoarthritis is by far the most common—it affects about 30 million people in the United States alone. So what distinguishes osteoarthritis from other types of arthritis, and how is it treated?

A brief overview

Osteoarthritis, as we discussed in our knee arthritis post, is a progressive disease of the joints. It develops when the cartilage inside a joint—which is supposed to act as a shock absorber between the bones—wears down, becoming frayed and rough. Without soft, slippery cartilage to cushion the bones, bending or straightening a joint with osteoarthritis can be difficult and painful.

Osteoarthritis most commonly develops in the knee, hip, fingers, thumb, neck, lower back, and big toe. Osteoarthritis does not affect all joints equally. For example, people rarely develop osteoarthritis in their elbows, wrists, and ankles. Moreover, the severity of osteoarthritis varies from person to person.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and tenderness. Some osteoarthritis patients also experience swelling, due to fluid accumulation inside the joint. Others report a crackling or grating sensation when they bend and straighten the joint.

Osteoarthritis symptoms typically worsen over time. They are usually mild at first, but over time, they can become disabling. Symptoms of osteoarthritis might be more severe in the morning, during rigorous activity, or during rainy weather.

 

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Dr. Temming is a rheumatologist, but what does that mean, exactly? In today’s post, we’ll break down what a rheumatologist is and does, and when you should make an appointment to see one.

Training

A rheumatologist is an internist who has undergone special training to diagnose and treat rheumatic diseases, which affect the bones, muscles, and joints. Rheumatic diseases can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity. Osteoarthritis, which is what Dr. Temming treats at The Center for Knee Arthritis, is a rheumatic disease.

Rheumatologists complete four years of medical school, followed by three years of residency in internal medicine, and then a two- or three-year rheumatology fellowship. They also take a board exam to become certified in rheumatology—and must retake the exam every ten years.

When to see a rheumatologist

Rheumatologists commonly treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory arthritic conditions, gout, tendinitis, and bursitis.

Aches and pains of the muscles and joints are common, especially as we get older. Normally, these twinges of discomfort will come and go, and do not require treatment from a rheumatologist. However, if you experience joint stiffness, swelling, or pain that doesn’t go away in a reasonable time (i.e., a few weeks), then you might need to see a rheumatologist—especially if the condition is impeding your daily activity or sleep.

 

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Welcome to the blog of The Center for Knee Arthritis! Our practice is committed to not only treating the symptoms of knee arthritis, but also educating our patients about their condition. In the spirit of that philosophy, we will use this blog to post information about knee arthritis, its risk factors, treatment options, and more. But first thing first—what is knee arthritis?

Knee Arthritis 101

There are many different types of arthritis that can afflict the knee joint, but the most common kind of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis. Basically, this condition results from the breakdown of cartilage inside the knee.

The knee joint itself comprises three different bones: the lower end of the thighbone (femur), the kneecap (patella), and the upper end of the shinbone (tibia). The junction of these three bones is cushioned by cartilage—smooth, slippery tissue that acts like a shock absorber when you bend or straighten your knee. As this cartilage wears down (due to age, weight, joint injury, overuse, genetics, or other risk factors), it becomes less effective at cushioning the bones of the knee joint. This “wear and tear” type of knee arthritis is what we treat at The Center for Knee Arthritis.

How common is it?

Although arthritis can affect any joint in the body, knee arthritis is particularly common—especially in older adults. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately one in two adults will experience symptoms of knee osteoarthritis at some point in their lives. Dr. Temming currently treats hundreds of patients with knee arthritis.

 

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