Physician assesses elderly patient with arthritis

There are many different kinds of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis (usually occurs due to old age, strain from movement, or injury) and rheumatoid arthritis (occurs as a result of an autoimmune condition). When someone is suffering from arthritis of the hip, knee, or shoulder, the cartilage that cushion the joints from movement begins to deteriorate, becoming rigid and gradually wearing down. When these natural buffers between the bones shrink, the spaces between the bones get reduced and the likelihood of developing bone spurs from the added friction increases. If these bone spurs pinch a nerve, it can lead the patient to experience pain, numbness, weakness, and stiffness.

Most treatments for arthritis in the hip, knee, or shoulder include healthy lifestyle changes (diet and low-impact exercise), physical therapy, and pain management medication (potentially including acetaminophen or NSAIDS, and even specific antidepressants). If symptoms continue despite conservative methods, doctors may recommend steroid injections (corticosteroids are injected into the joints to reduce pain), hyaluronic acid injections (lubricant is injected into the joint to decrease friction), or surgery (depending on the type of arthritis and affected joint).

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