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Is post-traumatic arthritis permanent?

3 minutes, 40 seconds

Post-traumatic arthritis is a type of osteoarthritis condition involving inflammation in the joints. It affects roughly 5 million people each year. This specific kind of arthritis occurs after a trauma to the body. It’s unlike regular arthritis in that it develops suddenly, rather than developing over a period of several years. It can affect anyone, but more often affects young people than older adults. Most older adults commonly experience osteoarthritis, which is the deterioration of joint health and mobility over a long period of time, due to the natural aging process. However, post-traumatic arthritis is sudden and traumatic, most often from an injury that occurs from exercise or sports games.

If you’re someone who has recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic arthritis, here’s what else you need to know. Keep reading for more extensive information on symptoms, whether or not it’s permanent, and treatment methods. 

What are some symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis?

  • Fluid buildup — One of the symptoms that are common in those with post-traumatic arthritis is the buildup of fluid around the arthritis joints. The affected areas may become swollen or larger than normal due to the extra amount of fluid that collects around the joints. The official medical terminology for fluid buildup around the joints is called joint effusion.
  • Unusual sensations around the joint — Another common symptom that people with this condition often report experiencing is new or unusual sensations around the area of the joints with arthritis. These unusual sensations may include grinding, grating, crunching or creaking.
  • Stiffness — Stiffness around the joint is often reported in those with post-traumatic arthritis. This condition may cause the joint to become stiff and hard to move, which is also associated with general arthritis.
  • Inflammation — Inflammation or swelling is something that many people experience with this condition. The lining of the joints, called the synovial membrane, can become inflamed and swollen for many arthritis patients.
  • Limited mobility — Post-traumatic arthritis can cause all the symptoms listed above, but also limited mobility. It can become hard to fully move your joints that have become arthritic, and your range of motion is negatively affected. Limited mobility can make everyday activities and daily tasks exceedingly difficult to complete.

Is post-traumatic arthritis permanent?

  • It’s most often temporary — A majority of the time, when this condition occurs, it’s temporary. It usually takes a few months for patients to recover.
  • It can become a chronic condition — For those who experience the condition for a period longer than six months, it may be diagnosed by a physician as having progressed into a chronic condition. This may classify your condition as permanent.

How can you manage the symptoms of permanent post-traumatic arthritis or speed up recovery time for temporary arthritis?

  • Make changes to your lifestyle — Lifestyle changes may be extremely beneficial for those with this type of arthritis. This may look like changing your diet and including anti-inflammatory foods. It can also include avoiding activities that may lead to the trauma that caused your arthritis in the first place.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers — Another thing you can do to help your arthritis is to take anti-inflammatory medications, which may help speed up your symptom relief by reducing the swelling and inflammation in your joints. Pain-relieving medication can also be a good temporary solution for relief.
  • Get more exercise — Another way you can help your body recover from this is to increase the amount of exercise you get. The condition of your joints could get worse or take longer to improve if your joints are not regularly moved.
  • Find treatment at a physical therapy clinic — Seeing a physical therapist for your arthritis can be particularly worthwhile. Therapists can come up with personalized treatment plans to help increase your mobility, minimize your pain and improve your joint stiffness. Physical therapists are experts at handling the care of patients with arthritis. They’re well equipped to handle your case of post-traumatic arthritis, and if it isn’t permanent, they can help you prevent future occurrences. If your arthritis has progressed to the chronic stage, physical therapists can also help you effectively manage your symptoms to improve your quality of life.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for your temporary or permanent post-traumatic arthritis

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your temporary or permanent post-traumatic arthritis. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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