Arthritis After an Injury: What You Need to Know

Jul 10, 2023
Arthritis After an Injury: What You Need to Know
Injuries are something we all deal with from time to time, but in some cases an injury to joints can lead to arthritis. Let’s look at what this condition can do to joints after an injury and what you can do to manage it.

Exercise is a great thing for your health, and fortunately you can achieve this in many different ways. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, walking is the most common form of exercise for people 15 and older, with activities like weightlifting, using cardiovascular exercise equipment, swimming, running, and basketball far behind it. Among women in particular, walking is still very popular, but not quite as much as yoga and aerobics.

The irony of the need for physical activity is that it does carry the risk of injury, and if you injure a joint there is the risk of post-traumatic arthritis. It develops differently than other forms of arthritis, but does carry all of the same pain, swelling, and mobility issues. 

Let’s examine how to deal with this problem by looking at what post-traumatic arthritis is, its symptoms and causes, and your options for managing this condition.

Residents of the Fort Worth, Texas area looking for help with joint problems like arthritis can find help with Dr. Joseph Daniels and his experienced team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates.

Understanding post-traumatic arthritis

Arthritis (primarily osteoarthritis, the most common form) is often a chronic, inflammatory condition that develops over a lengthy period of time, through wear-and-tear on joints. 

Different types of arthritis will damage joints in unique ways, but the end result is usually a reduction of stability and mobility, and an increase of pain from bones rubbing together after tissue in the joints have worn away.

Post-traumatic arthritis presents itself a little differently, though it has many of the same symptoms. Once a joint is injured, this condition sets in quickly and can become chronic if the injury lasts longer than usual. Post-traumatic arthritis is far more common in teens and younger adults, while most other forms of arthritis tend to set in when you’re older.

Symptoms and causes

This type of injury is likely to happen in specific joints, such as your ankle, knee, shoulder, and hip, and may show signs such as swelling, joint inflammation (synovial effusion), and in some cases severe pain and internal bleeding, depending on the extent of damage to the joint. While this is generally an acute injury, signs of damage may take months to present themselves.

There are several events that can lead to this form of joint damage, such as sports injuries, accidents, and impact from falls. The possibility of injury increases with factors like age, a history of injuries, and being overweight. Some cases resolve themselves after a few months, but are considered chronic if they persist for six months or more.

How to manage your injury

Your options for managing post-traumatic arthritis break down into medical procedures and forms of therapy and home care:

Medical options

Surgeries are only used for treating this ailment if the pain and immobility is bad enough to affect quality of life, and include debridement (removing damaged tissue and reshaping bones), joint fusion, or joint replacement.

Therapy and home care options

A customized exercise regimen can be used to help you work through the pain and inflammation associated with this type of arthritis, and lifestyle changes like weight loss to remove pressure from joints, low-impact exercise, and braces can help a great deal.

Arthritis of any kind can be painful and irritating, but you can get through it, and we can help. Make an appointment with Dr. Daniels and the team at Southwest Orthopedic Associates today to get relief from arthritis pain.