Once the process of arthritis has begun, the natural history is erratic
progression of joint deterioration. This commonly results in pain,
deformity, joint enlargement, instability, stiffness and loss of function.
Symptoms are often episodic, but may be constant. There is no known
treatment which has been shown to reverse, stop or even slow the progress
of deterioration. Current management recommendations are geared to the
practical goals of relief of pain and correction of instability.
Nonsurgical treatment options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
(NSAIDS), splinting, intraarticular long-acting steroid injection.
Supervised therapy programs may be helpful in providing treatment
modalities for symptomatic relief, instruction on the application of joint
protection principles and providing mechanical aids for activities of daily
living. Current surgical options include joint debridement, arthroplasty,
arthrodesis and denervation procedures in selected cases. Even with optimum
recommended care, full relief may not be achieved and additional or
recurrent problems may develop.
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