Osteo Arthritis (OA)

The word arthritis means inflammation of the joint ("arthr" meaning joint and "itis" meaning inflammation). Inflammation is a medical term describing pain, stiffness, redness and swelling. There are more than 100 types of arthritis. Arthritis is among the leading causes of disability affecting nearly millions of people world wide. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent kind of arthritis. It occurs when cartilage (the tough elastic material that covers and protects the ends of bones) begins to wear away. Cartilage is an essential part of the joint; not only does it act as a shock absorber, it also enables the joint to move smoothly. With Osteoarthritis the cartilage erodes, eventually resulting in pain, stiffness, swelling and bone-on-bone movement in the affected joint. ( The wear and tear of the joint)
OA will usually cause the affected joints to become stiff in the morning, but the stiffness usually lasts about 15-20 minutes. Joints may become inflamed with pain, warmth and swelling. As the cartilage wears down over time, the joints may slowly become bigger (boney) as the body tries to heal itself. The cartilage may wear away entirely and the bones may rub together ("bone-on-bone"). Osteoarthrtitis may affect all joints but especially the ones that bear the most weight ( hip, knee and ankle) are most effected.

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Pain is in general the first symptom of OA and it may progress over a period of months to years: Early on, the pain is triggered by high impact activities only. Later the pain is triggered by ordinary activities, relieved by rest and may be associated with symptoms, such as locking of the joint. The joint may be stiff after you rest it or when you wake in the morning. This stiffness is usually short, lasting only 15-20 minutes. The pain can be with you (to some degree) most of the day, even causing discomfort while you try to sleep at night. You may notice some swelling in the joints and a loss of flexibility or strength. The joints may have a "creaking" sound when you move them. Please watch the slide show on arthritis by WebMd

Diagnosis and X-ray :

There is no single test for OA. If you have signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, your doctor will likely discuss your symptoms, examine your joints and have X Rays made to help with the diagnosis. On the X-ray here above you will see the difference. On the top row there are two x-rays of normal, healthy ankle joints. Notice the space between the tibial and the talus bone which means that there is a layer of cartilage between them. The second row of pictures show irregularities between the tibia and the talus and narrowing of the joint space, indicating loss of cartilage.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

AAA Triple A® Ankle replacementRheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one where the body's immune system becomes confused and begins to "attack" the body. In RA, the target of the immune attack is tissue in the lining of the joints and, sometimes, in other internal organs (such as the eyes, lungs or heart). This causes swelling, pain, inflammation and joint destruction. RA usually begins slowly, starting in a few joints and then spreading to other joints over a few weeks to a few months. As time goes on, RA involves more and more joints on both sides of the body often in a "symmetrical" pattern. This means if joints in your right hand are swollen, then joints in your left hand will probably be swollen.


There is no single test for RA. If you have signs and symptoms of RA, your doctor will likely examine your joints and perform blood tests and X-rays to help with the diagnosis. Your doctor may order blood tests, such as the ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and the CRP (Cell Reactive Protein), to look for inflammation in the blood. Other blood tests, including the Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and the Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP) Antibody, can be helpful, but it's not possible to diagnose RA with a simple blood test. When the disease progresses the X-ray (as shown here above) will show complete disappearance of the joint space, extra bone formation and a diffuse view.
"Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis" a slide show by WebMD gives you a quick overview.

anatomy of the ankle

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