Osteoarthritis

Virginia Mason’s osteoarthritis specialists work with you to create an effective and acceptable long-term plan for living with arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the gradual loss of cartilage from joints. Cartilage is a cushion for your bones that allows them to glide smoothly when you move. Losing cartilage can cause pain and stiffness in your joints. Osteoarthritis worsens over time, but the pain and disability can be controlled.

Most patients do not need surgery. Only a minority of patients with osteoarthritis will ever need to have their joint replaced. We use a simple questionnaire and X-rays to help assess severity and impact on lifestyle to determine the best treatment plan.

Learn more about osteoarthritis care at Virginia Mason by calling our team at (206) 341-3000.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis

Treatment Without Medications

  • Physical Therapy and Exercise
    • Effective for most patients
    • Physical therapy may be needed for up to three months
    • Routine home exercise will help build strength
       
  • Devices to assist in everyday life
    • Canes, walkers and raised toilet seats may be an option
    • Well-cushioned shoes and orthotics

Treatment With Medications

  • Acetaminophen
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Advil® or Aleve®)
  • Steroid joint injections can be effective for pain flare-ups
  • Joint lubricant injections like Synvisc® or Euflexxa® have not been shown to provide a benefit to pain and function at this time.

Joint Replacement Surgery
Only a minority of patients with osteoarthritis will require joint replacement surgery. The choice for joint replacement surgery is a shared and informed decision made between you and your surgeon based on the following:

  • Severity of arthritis seen on X-rays
  • Pain and limitation of everyday activities

Learn More About Osteoarthritis Care at Virginia Mason

For more information about osteoarthritis, or treatment from our osteoarthritis specialists, call (206) 341-3000.

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