Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, predominantly affecting adults in middle age and older. However, patients with prior joint injuries such as a meniscal or ligament tear, may develop osteoarthritis as younger age. This chronic degenerative joint disease causes a breakdown in joint cartilage and overgrowth of the bone surrounding the joint. It most typically affects the hands, hips, spine or knees, though any joint can be affected. Symptoms include pain with activity, stiffness, a grinding sensation in the joint and limitations in range of motion. Ultimately the joint may fail and patients may experience significant disability.
Fortunately, Osteoarthritis can be treated. Treatment and therapy for osteoarthritis includes physical interventions such as exercise and physical therapy, oral and topical medications, joint injections and finally surgical procedures for severely damaged joints.
For innovative and expert osteoarthritis therapy, the Osteoarthritis Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston is recognized as a world leader in osteoarthritis therapy, diagnosis and treatment.
Learn more about osteoarthritis therapy at BWH.
Osteoarthritis therapy and treatment at BWH
The Osteoarthritis Center at BWH is part of the Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation, and Immunity – one of the top such programs in the United States. From its beginnings as the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital (the first teaching hospital in the U.S. dedicated to treatment and therapy for arthritic diseases), BWH has become a world leader in research, therapy and care for patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The Center operates on a multidisciplinary approach, involving clinicians and researchers from rheumatology, physical therapy, orthopedics, pain management, and joint and bone radiology.
Osteoarthritis therapy and treatment options at BWH include:
- Anti-inflammatory and pain medication
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Guidance on weight loss and exercise, and other self-management strategies
- Advice the use of nutritional supplements
- Joint injections with cortisone or viscosupplements
- Surgical intervention, including arthroscopy, osteotomy surgery, partial and total joint reconstruction, and cartilage repair and regeneration
Other rheumatology, arthritis and joint disease services at BWH include:
Research on osteoarthritis diagnosis and therapy
As a leading research facility, the Osteoarthritis Center is helping to improve diagnosis and therapy for the disease in a number of ways:
- Evaluating the benefits of surgery versus non-surgical techniques for treating a torn meniscus in patients who have concomitant osteoarthritis.
- Developing strategies to improve a patient's experience throughout the process of having a knee replaced.
- Creating computer simulation models to project the costs and quality of life associated with osteoarthritis and other clinical scenarios.
- Determining the most effective means of pain relief for osteoarthritis patients
- Securing new drug targets by studying the molecular pathways that cause the disease.
- Identifying biomarkers of disease activity that will allow researchers and clinicians to predict those patients at highest risk for arthritis progression over time.
Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital and osteoarthritis therapy, as well as rheumatoid arthritis therapy, osteoporosis treatment, and other arthritis and joint diseases services and procedures offered at BWH.