Arthritis is the wear of the cartilage or smooth surfaces that exist on the ends of bones. It typically leads to pain, irritation, swelling and loss of range of motion of the joint. There are many different types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, and post-traumatic arthritis. It commonly thought of as affecting the hip and knee joints, but can happen in any joint that has motion.
Non-operative management is the initial treatment to manage symptoms. Depending on the type of arthritis, the doctor may be able to treat the underlying condition, such as inflammatory arthritis. In osteoarthritis, avoiding painful activities, NSAIDs, a stretching and strengthening routine, and lifestyle changes such as weight loss can help manage symptoms. In some cases, injections of a steroid or hyaluronic acid will help alleviate the pain.
When non-operative management has been exhausted, joint replacement is typically the next step. This consists of replacing the worn ends of the bones and cartilage padding with metal and plastic while removing as little bone as possible. For hip replacements, Dr. McVicker will utilize a front, or anterior approach. With any joint replacement, pain is managed with a variety of medications affecting different sources in order to minimize the need for narcotic medications.