Osteoarthritis specialist Perth
If you have osteoarthritis, your GP may have referred you to us because in Perth, we are known to provide excellent rheumatological care. Murdoch Rheumatology is also known for its excellent patient education because we believe that the better you are informed, the more empowered you are to make the best decisions about the treatment of a condition such as osteoarthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It usually comes on after the age of 40 and becomes more common with aging.
Osteoarthritis (sometimes simply abbreviated as OA) involves changes in the cartilage of your joints. Cartilage covers the surface of the joint to provide cushioning and a smooth, gliding surface when you move your joints.
When you have this type of arthritis, it means that the cartilage breaks down. It means that your whole joint structure is now changing at various levels:
The most commonly affected joints are:
Osteoarthritis may develop after an injury when the interior of your joint is damaged, or some of the supporting tissues. Repetitive trauma can also cause OA, and a third factor is linked to age. Sometimes osteoarthritis occurs simply because it runs in your family.
What are the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis?
If you start experiencing symptoms, it is usually a slow process.
The symptoms include:
- Pain: This may be an ache or a sharp pain. It is most often felt when you are active and you would feel the pain when you do particular movements. Generally, rest helps and will reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis.
- Stiffness: As you start to move after a period of rest, your joints may feel tight and restricted. It would be less pronounced than the stiffness you would experience with an inflammatory form of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.
- Swelling: Over time, bone spurs can grow as a result of worn cartilage. That can then cause swelling. Because of the condition, extra fluid may be produced within your joint and that can cause swelling too. What you will notice is that the swelling can change within a day, and from day to day, depending on your activity.
- Loss of movement and flexibility
- Grinding and grating: You would typically hear and feel it when you move your joint. Another term we use for this symptom is crepitus.
- Angulation of a joint (bowing): You would often see this in knees or finger joints.
It’s important to remember that osteoarthritis is not caused by inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand or gout start with inflammation. But with osteoarthritis, the joint may be inflamed as a consequence (it would be red and warm and swollen in that case).
Who is at risk?
Who gets osteoarthritis?
Sometimes people will say osteoarthritis is a typical wear-and-tear disease. Rheumatologists will agree that it is actually far more complex than that.
Let’s go over some of the risk factors to define who is at risk of developing osteoarthritis:
- Age: The risk of the condition increases as you get older.
- Gender: The statistics show us that in general, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men.
- Obesity: When you carry extra body weight, it creates additional stress for your joints, particularly your hips and knees. We also know that extra fat tissue produces proteins, that can cause inflammation in and around your joints.
- Injuries: If you have injured your joints at work or doing sports, it can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Repetitive stress: If your joints experience repetitive stress from sports you play or the type of work you do, it can increase your risk.
- Genetics: If osteoarthritis runs in your family, then you may also run a higher risk.
- Benign Hypermobility Disorders: These disorders are hereditary, and they typically cause laxity of the joints and ligaments. If you have this type of disorder, it could mean that you are predisposed to get osteoarthritis.
- Metabolic diseases: Conditions such as diabetes or excessive iron in your body (haemochromatosis) are also additional risk factors.
You can count on our expertise to assess your personal situation. We will look at your medical history and look at all risk factors that may apply to your circumstances, so we can provide an accurate and clear diagnosis.
Osteoarthritis diagnosis | Rheumatologist Perth
How is it diagnosed ?
A diagnosis is based on:
- Expert clinical assessment of symptoms and examination findings
- This is most often done by plain X-rays.
- CT scans and MRI scans may be ordered to show the bone and joint tissues in more detail.
- Ultrasound can give greater detail of the joint and tissue structures and has the capacity of identifying osteoarthritis that is not yet apparent on X-rays.
Osteoarthritis treatment | Rheumatologist Perth
How is osteoarthritis treated?
Once a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made a specific treatment plan can be implemented. The treatment plan varies between patients depending on factors including the type and number of joints affected, severity of the arthritis, work and sporting activities and other health issues.
Treatment options include:
- Medical therapy including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), analgesics, topical NSAIDs
- Exercise to promote joint mobility and muscle strength about the joints. A Physiotherapist can be of great assistance, as can hydrotherapy.
- Steroid injections of the joint
Osteoarthritis doctor Perth
Why Murdoch Rheumatology?
If you are looking for osteoarthritis treatment in Perth, Murdoch Rheumatology can help. Our practice is known for its scientific and medical expertise. You can count on that knowledge and experience to provide an accurate diagnosis, and to plan your treatment in the most comfortable and effective way.
Dr Andrew Taylor’s goal? To help you minimise the impact of your condition so you can enjoy everyday life in the best possible circumstances.