Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It develops as the cartilage protecting the bones of a joint wears down over time. Over the years, as stress is put on the joints, cartilage wears thin and sometimes even erodes completely, resulting in stiffness and pain. It occurs more frequently in older individuals, however it sometimes develops in athletes from overuse of a joint or after an injury. It commonly affects the fingers, knees, lower back and hips and is often treated with medication and certain forms of exercise and physical therapy. In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be suggested. Osteoarthritis tends to get worse over time.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of osteoarthritis often develop slowly and progress over time. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis affect the joints and may include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Grating sensation or clicking sounds when joints are used

Sometimes bone spurs, which are also painful and interfere with movement, develop from the friction created by the bones rubbing together from osteoarthritis.

Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

In order to diagnose osteoarthritis, a thorough physical examination is performed to evaluate pain level, muscle weakness, range of motion, and any possible involvement of other joints. A complete medical history that assesses family history and past injuries is taken. If the physical examination indicates osteoarthritis, other diagnostic tests may be performed, including:

  • X-rays
  • MRI scan
  • Blood tests to screen for other diseases
  • Analysis of fluid that lubricates the joint

Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is commonly treated with a combination of methods. Medication may be used to treat pain and may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Acetaminophen
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Corticosteroid injections

Physical therapy may be a successful form of treatment for some patients. Avoiding certain physical activities that place stress on the joints may also be helpful. Severe cases of osteoarthritis may require surgery to smooth irregular tissue surfaces, or to reposition or replace joints through arthroscopy.

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  • Monday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Tuesday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Thursday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Friday: 8:30am – 5:00pm
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

The Musculoskeletal Center

4 Centennial Drive, Suite 201 Peabody, MA 01960

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Mass General - North Shore

104 Endicott Street, Suite LL00 Danvers, MA 01923

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978.531.0800                  

Fax: 978-531-2929

At New England Orthopedic Specialists, patient health and well-being is our highest priority. In light of recent COVID-19 developments, patients should be assured that we employ the highest standards of safety and infection control protocols. We are continuously monitoring and following state and federal guidelines regarding avoiding potential exposure to the virus.

We are currently open and seeing patients at our location in Peabody. Based on the current recommendations, we are limiting patient visits to the office based on clinical needs. If you have an appointment and have not heard from us, you can plan on attending your appointment. However, if you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms or may have had exposure to the virus through traveling or direct contact, please call us so that we can determine the best plan of action.

We will be contacting you if the physician has determined that your appointment can be postponed. In many cases, we are utilizing telephone visits as much as possible to check in with you. We are keeping track of visits that are being cancelled and will contact you when it has been determined it is safe to see patients again on a routine basis.

If you have experienced a recent injury or are experiencing any serious orthopedic issues, please give us a call at 978-531-0800. Avoid the emergency room. Our Ortho Express is staffed and ready to care for your urgent needs, including availability of imaging and bracing, all in one location.