As most of you know, I became the Arthritis guide at About.com in 1997. When the decision was made to split off Osteoarthritis as a separate site in 2007, I continued writing for both sites. My husband was my co-guide until he sadly passed away a few years ago. Going forward, I have decided to focus solely on the Arthritis site and leave the Osteoarthritis site. This is 100% my decision and based on how I want to invest my time.
Many of you have followed both sites over the years. Thank you so much for being loyal readers. Remember, I'm not leaving the Arthritis site or About.com -- I'm just leaving Osteoarthritis. You will still find me on the Arthritis site and I will continue to work on providing you with the best resource for arthritis news, information, and support. Here are ways to keep track of site updates on Arthritis:
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Many simple tasks require that we use our hands. I'm talking about things we don't even think about as we're doing it, such as turning a lamp switch or opening a door knob. For healthy people, these simple tasks are no problem. But, for people with hand osteoarthritis or other disabling conditions that affect hand function, simple tasks can be difficult.
There are many gadgets and assistive devices designed to add leverage or improve the grip of someone with hand osteoarthritis. Most of the items are not expensive, but they are very helpful. Check out a few available items in Useful Gadgets for People With Hand Osteoarthritis.
Photo by Peter Nguyen (iStockphoto)
When most people think of ultrasound, they envision a pregnant belly being scanned or some other body part for diagnostic purposes. But, ultrasound is also used for therapeutic purposes. Therapeutic ultrasound is used to treat pain and loss of joint function due to osteoarthritis. The effectiveness of therapeutic ultrasound for osteoarthritis has been questioned though.
How does therapeutic ultrasound relieve pain and improve joint function? What do studies from the past 5 years conclude about the effectiveness of therapeutic ultrasound? Learn more in Ultrasound Treatment for Osteoarthitis.
Researchers conducted a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving patients with a meniscal tear and evidence of osteoarthritis. There were 351 study participants assigned to surgery (arthroscopic partial meniscectomy) and post-op physical therapy or a standardized regimen of physical therapy alone. Patients were assessed at 6 and 12 months.
According to study results published in the March 19, 2013 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, there were no significant differences in improvement in functional status and pain after 6 and 12 months between patients assigned to arthroscopic partial meniscectomy with post-op physical therapy and patients assigned to standardized physical therapy alone. However, 30% of patients assigned to physical therapy alone did cross over to surgery in the first 6 months of follow-up.
Photo by Sebastian Kaulitzki (iStockphoto)
Researchers evaluated the possible association of bone mineral density and the progression of knee osteoarthritis by measuring cartilage volume and thickness on MRI. Researchers used data from a cohort of 127 knee osteoarthritis patients from the Vitamin D for Knee Osteoarthritis trial. They obtained bilateral bone mineral density measurements of the femoral neck and knee MRIs for each of the patients at baseline, 12 and 24 months.
According to results published in the March 2013 Arthritis & Rheumatism, bone mineral density loss was associated with progressive loss of cartilage in knees with osteoarthritis. Patients with bone mineral density loss that was considered to be significant had cartilage volume loss that was 1.02% greater per year than patients without significant bone mineral density loss.
- Bone Mineral Density Not Linked to Osteophytes in Osteoarthritis (February 2011)
- What Is a DEXA Scan?
- Bone Mineral Density Test
- Cartilage - 10 Things You Should Know
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Osteoarthritis has long been recognized as a disease that involves wear-and-tear of articular cartilage (i.e., the cushion within our joints). More recently, researchers have suggested that there are metabolic processes involved in the development of osteoarthritis.
Researchers at Keele University in the United Kingdom tested one theory that has suggested disorders of lipid metabolism may be a cause of osteoarthritis. In a study involving more than 16,000 people with cardiovascular disease, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers evaluated whether statins (medications prescribed to lower cholesterol) reduce the occurrence of osteoarthritis. Patients were evaluated at 2, 4, and 10 year intervals for clinical signs of osteoarthritis. Researchers concluded that higher therapeutic doses of statin medication taken for at least 2 years was associated with a significant reduction in clinical osteoarthritis compared to those who did not take statins.
- Statins Linked to Reduced Incidence of Knee Osteoarthritis (January 2011)
- Statins May Be Useful for Degenerative Disc Disease (February 2009)
- Does Inflammation Play a Role in Osteoarthritis?
Photo by Brad Killer (iStockphoto)
According to the March 13, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, weight loss can alleviate and significantly reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. We have written about the association between overweight, obesity and osteoarthritis before. Researchers are now saying that the link between obesity and osteoarthritis is clear -- and not only due to biomechanical factors (i.e., increased joint loads). The link is likely due to systemic factors as well.
According to researchers, about 50% of knee osteoarthritis cases could be eliminated if obesity were no longer a risk factor. Weight loss can decrease pain in osteoarthritis patients and improve joint function. Weight loss should be considered a primary treatment option in osteoarthritis patients who are obese and should not be overlooked.
- Overweight: A Risk Factor for Osteoarthritis
- Obesity Linked to Osteoarthritis
- Weight Management for Osteoarthritis
- Readers Respond: Tired of Hearing About Overweight and Osteoarthritis?
Photo by Mikhail Kokhanchikov (iStockphoto)
According to study results published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, adolescents with joint hypermobility are twice as likely to develop musculoskeletal pain in the affected joint -- especially when shoulders, knees, ankles, or feet are involved. Previous studies have been inconsistent. While some concluded joint pain is common in children with joint hypermobility, other studies suggested joint hypermobility was not associated with a higher risk of joint pain.
In the study that evaluated 1,267 boys and 1,634 girls and concluded there is a two-fold risk, young patients who were obese had a 10-fold risk of pain in knees affected by joint hypermobility. More studies are needed to determine if osteoarthritis may be a consequence of joint hypermobility.
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Boswellia, often referred to as Indian frankincense, is an ayurvedic herb. Derived from the gum resin of the Boswellia tree, the herbal supplement is thought to have some health benefits.
Boswellia is thought to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it potentially beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. However, scientific evidence that supports the beneficial effects of Boswellia is said to be unclear. Learn more in Boswellia for Osteoarthritis.
- Herbal Supplements for Osteoarthritis
- Frankincense Relieves Osteoarthritis Pain
- Alternative and Natural Treatments - Test Your Knowledge
Photo by Juanmonino (iStockphoto)
While most hip replacement surgeries are successful, some patients experience hip implant failure at some point after the procedure. According to a report published online February 18, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine, women are at greater risk for implant failure than men.
In the study, which involved more than 35,000 hip replacements performed at 46 different hospitals, women typically received a prosthesis with a 28 mm. femoral head. Men typically received a femoral head that was 36 mm. or larger. There also was a difference in the type of prosthesis -- 61% of women vs. 54% of men had metal on highly cross-linked polyethylene surfaces. About 19% of men had metal-on-metal bearing surfaces compared to approximately 10% of women. Overall, 97% of implants were intact after 5 years. Of implants that survived, a higher percentage was attributed to men than women.
- Total Hip Replacement - What You Need to Know
- Hip Replacement Improves Quality of Life
- Hip Revision - What You Need to Know
Image © A.D.A.M.