Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis
posted: Jun. 22, 2015.
In my last blog we began a discussion on osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of joint pain that appear as we age. We spoke of the commonness arthritis has in golf, which is a sport unique in that the competing athletes range in age from high school age to retirement age (the 22-year old Jordan Spieth winning the U.S. Open is a prime example).
Today I will continue this discussion on arthritis with several treatment options. Unfortunately, no drug therapies have proven efficient at halting the progression of Osteoarthritis. As physicians, pain relief is the best we can hope to give our patients.
It is best to start with treatments that do not involve drugs, such as weight loss, exercise, and heat. When medicine is needed, it is best to start with something that will decrease the inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aleve or Ibuprofen are typically the first medications prescribed. Severe cases of Osteoarthritis may require prescription strength NSAIDs.
Tell your doctor if you cannot tolerate NSAIDs or if you have a history of stomach ulcers as these medications can cause them as a side effect. Topical NSAIDS, can be prescribed instead. These ointments and creams can also be given in addition to oral medications or as an alternative in elderly patients who are at an increased risk of toxicity from oral medications.
Steroid injections are an option in joints that are already completely destroyed by arthritis. The downside to injecting them into a salvageable joint is that steroids actually damage joints. Here at Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, I typically recommend a maximum of three injections per joint each year.
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections are a new form of therapy showing great potential. The theory behind it is that the PRP will actually increase the body’s production of anti-inflammatory proteins in the arthritic joint.