Arthritis Symptoms and Joint Replacement

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What is Arthritis?

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are conditions that can affect your joints and cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Over time, this can cause cartilage damage. Cartilage is a smooth tissue that protects the movement of the joint. As arthritis progresses, the cartilage continues to break down, causing more pain and reduced range of motion.

What are common arthritis symptoms?

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Limited range of movement

Managing arthritis pain

There are nonsurgical options available if you want to reduce the pain associated with arthritis. Eating healthy foods and losing weight can be a good place to start. “One pound off the body is 4 pounds off the hip and knee. I always tell patients to celebrate when they take 1 pound off, because that’s 4 pounds off of all their joints. This makes them feel better and can help them move better too,” says Dr. Chen.

Other non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter medications, to manage the pain
  • Joint injections like steroids or hyaluronic gel
  • Low-impact strength training to strengthen the muscles to support your joints

Arthritis and joint replacement

“If your joint pain persists after trying these options, and you can’t do your daily activities, it might be time for you to get your joint replaced,” says Dr. Chen.

The most common arthritis joint replacement procedures are:

  • Hip replacement
  • Knee replacement
  • Partial knee replacement (depending on where your arthritis is located)

Hip replacement surgery

If you have hip arthritis, the cartilage in the ball and socket joint wears away. During a hip replacement, your surgeon makes an opening from the front, the side, or the back of your hip. They remove the ball and resurface the socket. They then place a new socket, liner, ball, and stem in your hip.

Knee replacement surgery

If you have knee arthritis, the cartilage between your thigh bone, shin bone, and kneecap wears away. During a knee replacement, your surgeon makes an opening to the front of the knee. They remove the damaged cartilage, replace it with metal, and add a plastic insert in the middle of the joint that allows your knee to glide smoothly. Depending on where your arthritis is located, your surgeon also may remove the back part of your kneecap and replace it with plastic.

Joint replacement surgery recovery

Everyone’s recovery is different, but most patients can walk with an assistive walking device immediately after their surgery. These devices can include:

  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Crutches

“The most important thing to do is to move as much as possible after surgery,” Dr. Chen says. “Walking is a great option. Not only does it make your mobility better, but it also reduces your risk of blood clots.”

Following surgery, you need to do exercises either on your own or with a physical therapist. A physical therapist can develop a routine targeted to your needs to help you recover from your surgery.

The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.



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Portland, OR 97209

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