National Arthritis Awareness Month

May 20, 2021

In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month (May), the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR) physicians and staff would like to recognize anyone who has suffered from this painful condition — and let you know that we are here to help.

If you have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, you are not alone. In the U.S. today, an estimated 23% of all adults — over 54 million people — have been diagnosed with arthritis. Almost half of those adults have had to limit their activities due to pain and reduced mobility.

Dr. Craig Della Valle, a Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush joint replacement surgeon who treats patients with hip and knee arthritis, understands a lot about the physical and emotional impact of arthritis. “Arthritis affects all facets of a patient’s life,” he explains.

“From getting dressed to getting to work or the store, almost all activities can be affected. Pain almost always leads to a reduced quality of life. It is very frustrating to feel so limited and hence relationships with loved ones can be negatively affected.”

What is arthritis exactly?

Arthritis is defined as inflammation or swelling of one or more joints in the body. The term ‘arthritis’ actually describes more than 100 conditions that affect the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Specific symptoms of arthritis vary but usually include joint pain and stiffness.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in the U.S. Among adults 60+, it occurs in 10% of men and 13% of women. Some call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees. With OA, the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time.

Is the number of arthritis sufferers growing?

With the U.S. population aging and living longer, the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase over the next several decades. By the year 2040, an estimated 78 million (26% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18+ will be diagnosed with arthritis. Two-thirds of those with arthritis will be women.

How can I manage my arthritis conservatively?

There are a lot of ways in which you can manage your arthritis. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) developed an excellent arthritis self-management strategy program called “Strive for Five”. This program recommends five ways to manage arthritis and its symptoms. Click on each strategy below to learn more.

Managing Arthritis: Strive for Five

What treatments does MOR have for arthritis sufferers?

If you suspect you have arthritis, you should always see a qualified specialist who will use a variety of diagnostics, including x-ray, to evaluate your condition.  Treatment of arthritis generally includes rest, occupational or physical therapy, exercise, medication, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage.

MOR surgeons, ranked #5 in the nation, are uniquely qualified to perform joint surgeries for a long list of body parts, including knee, hip, shoulder, ankle, thumb, foot, and spine. In addition, MOR has specially trained physical and occupational therapists who work hand-in-hand with surgeons to ensure that your recovery is successful.

“The fun part of my job is seeing patients back soon after surgery and their pain is usually dramatically decreased or gone,” Dr. Della Valle says. “Many more people have heard the success stories of treatment and we have more and more patients coming in seeking relief. They are relieved to know that there are excellent, proven surgical options for arthritis affecting almost all parts of the body.”

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