Inflammatory Arthritis is another type of arthritis that is less common then degenerative or osteoarthritis. These type of arthritic diseases occur when there is a malfunction of one’s immune system and the immune system errantly recognizes joint cartilage as ‘foreign’ and attacks the joints and attempts to destroy the cartilage in the joint. This can cause severe destruction of joints and has been called the ‘crippling arthritis’.
Types of inflammatory arthritis include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Lupus arthritis
- Sjogren’s disease
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease-associated arthritis
Conservative treatment includes resting the joints, modifying one’s activities, walking aids and medications such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Alleve.
More aggressive medical management is available. An entire field of medical specialists called Rheumatologists is devoted to treating these diseases. Many new (and some old) regimens to suppress the immune system’s joint destruction activities now exist that are limiting this damage and preserving joints better that ever before. Multi–modal therapy using low doses of several different medications seems to be particularly effective.
Unfortunately, the joint destruction does become severe in some patients and when the symptoms and loss of function are too great, then, joint replacement can bring marked improvement in pain, function and mobility.