Pink Prescriptions - July 2024

The Morning Hobble: Is it Arthritis?

July 2024 Issue — Pink Prescriptions

The Morning Hobble:
Is it Arthritis?

Swelling, tenderness, stiffness, and pain are expected when an injury occurs. If you fall and hurt your knee, chances are you will experience all four of these symptoms, as well as some bruising. However, most of us experience some of these symptoms even when we haven’t injured ourselves. We just wake up feeling like we’ve been hit by a Mack truck and literally hobble to the kitchen to inject coffee.

Is this arthritis? Not necessarily! But there’s both good and bad news. If symptoms are fleeting, arthritis is probably not the culprit. You may simply need to stretch, exercise, reduce inflammatory food and beverage intake, or drink more water. However, if the symptoms persist throughout the day, you may have arthritis and need to check in with your physician. We wanted to learn more about arthritis because it’s a disease many people have but very few talk about. It also seems to be an inevitable condition that naturally comes along with aging. Tell us this isn’t so! We had to be sure, so we asked the experts to tell us more.

PinkRx0724 HoffmanBy Robert D. Hoffman, MD | Hilton Head Orthopedics, Chatham Orthopaedics

Is arthritis a given as we age?
What can be done to prevent it?

The word arthritis describes joint inflammation. There are many causes of arthritis. These include a variety of ailments, including common ones like osteoarthritis, and less common ones, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Although some wear and tear of the joints as we age is nearly universal, there are factors that influence the likelihood of having symptoms of osteoarthritis, which is more common in females. In addition, a strong family history of osteoarthritis can increase one’s risk. Significant injuries, knee injuries for example, can increase the chances of developing osteoarthritis. Obviously, changing any of these risk factors is not possible.

However, factors outside of these may decrease the odds of developing this condition. Maintaining a healthy body weight is perhaps the best means of prevention, especially when it comes to osteoarthritis of the knees and spine. Regular aerobic exercise and strength training are beneficial in preventing joint damage and minimizing symptoms in those with osteoarthritis. Exercise also decreases the odds of developing many other diseases, such as diabetes, that become common as we get older. Although completely eliminating your risk of developing osteoarthritis is not possible, staying fit and exercising regularly is almost certainly your best bet.

Does arthritis make us more susceptible to other ailments?

Arthritis does not make you susceptible to other ailments directly, but indirectly the symptoms of arthritis can lead to becoming more sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Maintaining an active lifestyle is an essential part of your overall health.

Dr. Robert Hoffman is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the treatment of shoulder and knee problems including shoulder and knee arthroscopy, knee ligament reconstruction, and shoulder and knee replacement surgery. Dr. Hoffman is now seeing patients in the Bluffton area—call (843) 682-7480 to schedule an appointment.

PinkRx0724 HoffmanBy Tricia Amelung, FNP-BC | Lowcountry Family Care

I have terrible joint pain, how do I know if
it’s arthritis or just low/imbalanced hormones?

Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear of the joint over time. Testosterone is protective of bones and keeps both bones and muscles strong.  This is why as we age, we start to have joint pain. Optimizing testosterone in women and men is the safest and healthiest way to combat arthritis. 

By age 40, most women have lost about half of their testosterone production. In men, testosterone levels decrease by 1 to 1.5 percent each year after age 30. Low testosterone in both women and men increase the risk for osteoporosis-related fractures.  

Tricia Amelung, FNP-BC graduated from Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort, S.C. in 2011 with her Associates Degree in Nursing. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2013 from Chamberlain College of Nursing and continued at Chamberlain for her Masters Degree in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner Degree. Lowcountry Family Care offers family care for patients of all ages! Call (843) 638-6100 to schedule an appointment.


PinkRx0724 Hoffman
By Dr. Vandit Sardana | Beaufort Memorial Hospital

What is arthritis, and what causes it?

Arthritis is an umbrella term that includes more than 100 related conditions. Generally, arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints, causing pain, stiffness, and inflammation, which usually worsens with age.

Arthritis is an extremely common condition, especially among adults over the age of 50. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. While both are considered “arthritis,” these two conditions have different causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Both conditions require treatment, which can include physical therapy, medications, and possibly joint replacement surgery. The type of arthritis often guides the type of prosthetic used in joint replacement in order to attain stability and a well-balanced joint.

If you have joint pain that lasts six weeks or longer, morning stiffness that lasts at least 30 minutes, or pain in the same joints on both sides of your body, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor. Once the joints are eroded, the treatment is joint replacement surgery.

The good news is, many of the current joint replacement surgeries are minimally invasive with quick recovery times. I have patients who are able to go home the same day as surgery and return to golf and pickleball in as soon as four weeks.


Tell us more about Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis and how to know the difference:

Osteoarthritis develops in joints that have been injured or overused. It affects more than 30 million people in the U.S. and often strikes the knees, hips, or hands. Osteoarthritis is “wear and tear” arthritis, and joint pain is the most common symptom. Treatments can require strengthening of muscles with physical therapy to offload pressure on the joint, injections such as cortisone, hyaluronic acid, or stem cells, and anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil™️ or Aleve™️.

Rheumatoid arthritis develops when the immune system attacks joints and organs, which causes painful swelling. It’s less common than osteoarthritis and impacts about 1.5 million adults in the U.S. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects multiple joints and needs medical attention with disease-modifying, anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) to keep it in remission. There are various blood tests, combined with a thorough history and physical exam, that can help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.

Other less common forms of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and gout. Psoriatic arthritis affects people with psoriasis, where the immune system attacks the body, especially the skin and joints. Gout develops when uric acid levels in the blood are too high, causing uric acid crystals to form in the joint.

Vandit Sardana, M.D., FRCS, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with Beaufort Memorial Orthopaedic Specialists in Okatie and Beaufort. Dr. Sardana can be reached at (843) 524-3015.

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