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guidelines for patients

Dr Rob Nicholas

Arthritic joint disease

Arthritis is a destructive inflammatory process of a joint and as a result the cartilage (the smooth lining or bearing surface of the joint ) gets damaged and eventually destroyed.

The most common form is osteoarthritis and then you also get rheumatoid arthritis and other more rare forms.

Osteoarthritis is a wear phenomenon with low grade inflammation and may be due to traumatic destruction of the joint, repetitive injuries such as with sport , mal-alignment of the joint which may be congenital, or most often idiopathic, which is age related. It mostly affects people over the age of 60.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an intensely inflammatory condition, where the auto-immune inflammation destroys the cartilage of the joint. It can occur at any age, women are more often affected, and more than one joint is involved.
The end result of above is that the joint ends up devoid of cartilage with rough bone surfaces moving on each other. This causes severe pain and stiffness.

The aim of any joint replacement procedure is to replace the cartilage or lining of the joint with artificial material, to give smooth painfree bearing surfaces again.

Osteoarthritic Knee

Total Hip Replacement (left) and Total Knee Replacement (right)