Osteoarthritis (Hip, Knee, Shoulder)
Osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most common form of arthritis. If you’re one of the more than 32 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from OA, you know it can cause pain and stiffness in the knees, hips, shoulders, and other joits that keep you from enjoying the activities you love. At Longevità Medical, Dr. Maria Karipidis Pouria helps our Greater Rochester patients reduce their osteoarthritis pain and improve their quality of life without surgery.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Once thought of as a “wear and tear” condition associated with aging joints, osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative joint disease caused by injury, surgery, compressive forces, or genetics. OA typically evolves slowly as changes to the joint occur gradually over many years. Osteoarthritis affects the entire joint, including bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat, and the tissues lining the joint. Even though it can affect any joint, it is commonly diagnosed in the hip, knee, or shoulder.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms & Diagnosis
People with osteoarthritis experience pain and swelling caused by the breakdown of cartilage (the buffer between bones in a joint), tendons, and ligaments. In most cases, symptoms are progressive rather than sudden. You may have osteoarthritis if you have any of these common symptoms:
- Painful joints, especially during or after activity or at the end of the day
- Stiff joints, usually noticed first thing in the morning
- Limited range of motion that decreases with movement
- Popping sound when the joint bends
- Swollen joints
- Muscle weakness near the joint
- Buckling joints, such as a knee giving out
Because people have different levels of pain tolerance, some individuals might seek treatment earlier than others. It is important, however, to get a formal diagnosis of osteoarthritis so you can address it at an early stage. To diagnose OA, your doctor will evaluate your risk factors and perform a physical exam, imaging tests, and sometimes lab tests.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Even though anyone can develop osteoarthritis, there are several risk factors associated with the disease. These include:
- Overuse: Repetitive stress on a joint is most often associated with tendonitis and bursitis, but it can also lead to osteoarthritis. Jobs or pastimes that require repeated knee bending, kneeling, or lifting can increase the risk of OA.
- Age: Most people aged 55 or older have some degree of osteoarthritis, even though many individuals don’t experience symptoms. The risk of developing the condition increases as you get older.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men, especially after age 50. Hormonal changes, including declining estrogen levels, experienced during menopause increase the risk of OA.
- Obesity: Weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees are more likely to develop osteoarthritis if a person is significantly overweight.
- Genetics: Women and men born with other bone diseases or certain genetic traits may be more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
- Previous injury: If you’ve fractured a bone or suffered a torn ligament or cartilage—even if the injury healed successfully—there’s an increased risk that you’ll develop osteoarthritis in the injured joint prematurely.
What Is the Best Treatment for Osteoarthritis?
Dr. Karipidis Pouria tailors osteoarthritis treatment at our Rochester-area practice for each patient and always starts with a conservative approach. There is no single “best” OA treatment; all treatments share the goals of minimizing pain and helping patients maintain a good quality of life that includes remaining mobile and physically active.
Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, a modified diet, and exercise, are important parts of any treatment plan for people with mild osteoarthritis symptoms.
Dr. Karipidis Pouria recommends that patients experiencing pain and swelling in their hips, knees, or shoulders get evaluated for osteoarthritis at our office in Victor, NY. If conservative treatment measures—including over-the-counter medications and physical therapy—aren’t successful at reducing the pain and swelling, injection therapies are often the next step.
Joint replacement surgery is typically a last resort for patients with advanced osteoarthritis. Whether a doctor recommends surgery depends on a person’s age, activity level, health condition, and osteoarthritis severity.
Is there a cure for osteoarthritis?
There isn’t a cure for osteoarthritis, but treatments are becoming more advanced and effective. Among the leading-edge treatment options are injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and concentrated bone marrow. Both of these types of injections stimulate the body’s natural healing process and provide long-lasting relief from osteoarthritis pain and swelling in the hips, knees, and shoulders.
What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are similar to those of osteoarthritis, but there are some key differences. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in a joint breaks down, whereas RA is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints. RA often occurs in several joints at once, as opposed to OA, which is often limited to a specific joint. In addition to pain, symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can include fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. Diagnosing the particular type of arthritis is important to determine the appropriate treatment.
What is the difference between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is often confused with osteoarthritis. Osteoporosis, however, is a disease that causes bones to become weak and brittle.
Request Your Consultation
If you’re experiencing chronic joint pain in the knee, hip, or shoulder and want to discuss osteoarthritis treatment options with Dr. Karipidis Pouria at our Victor location outside Rochester, request a consultation using the online form or call us at
(585) 244-1506 to schedule an appointment.