Posttraumatic Arthritis

Posttraumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis (OA) that ultimately results from an earlier traumatic injury or surgery. Generally those classified as an intra articular trauma, or effecting the joint, can often times create an environment vulnerable to joint deterioration – despite treatment and evidence that the injury healed properly.

Risk Factors
Athletes incurring repeated injury to their limbs are at particular risk for posttraumatic arthritis as is the individual sustaining severe injury in an accident.

The effect of this type of arthritis is a gradual deterioration of the joint surface and eventual loss of cartilage of the effected joint. Once the cartilage deteriorates, the joint becomes inflamed. Symptoms may include limited range of motion, small bony growths known as spurs, and general joint pain during periods of activity or after long periods of inactivity.

Diagnosis and Treatment
In treating arthritis, the key is early diagnosis and joint protection. Depending on the severity of the condition, conservative treatment may entail rehabilitative exercises, anti-inflammatory medication and activity modification. Severe joint deterioration may require reconstructive surgery or total joint replacement.