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.
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: