3 Things That We Want You to Know About Post-traumatic Arthritis

3 Things That We Want You to Know About Post-traumatic Arthritis

No matter how you injure yourself — car accident, sports injury, tripping down some steps — that injury can come back to bite you in the form of post-traumatic arthritis. Here’s what we want you to know.

When you hear the word arthritis, you might automatically think of an older person whose joints have seen a lot of wear-and-tear. Well, the fact is that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis, many of which can strike at any age, such as post-traumatic arthritis.

To better understand this common type of arthritis, Dr. Rajiv Sood and the team here at Spine & Orthopedic Center want to look at three pertinent facts about post-traumatic arthritis, which we outline below.

1. Post-traumatic arthritis is very specific

Arthritis is a catchall term for diseases that lead to joint pain and inflammation, and this group of diseases affects about 1 in 4 Americans.

Post-traumatic arthritis, as the name suggests, is very specific in that it occurs in people — about five million each year in the United States — on the heels of musculoskeletal damage. The arthritis typically sets in quickly after the injury but can also develop years later.

Between 20% and 50% of people with joint damage develop post-traumatic arthritis, especially those with:

  • Knee issues like anterior cruciate ligament or meniscus tears
  • Ligament strains
  • Bone fractures
  • Moderate to severe ankle sprains

Post-traumatic arthritis can present itself in one of two ways: 1) Much like osteoarthritis in that it affects the cartilage inside the affected joint, or 2) As inflammatory arthritis that leads to pain and inflammation.

2. Post-traumatic arthritis at any age

As we mentioned earlier, many people associate arthritis with age, which isn’t true, and post-traumatic arthritis is a great example of that. This form of arthritis occurs most often in younger people, especially those who are active.

So, not only can you be hobbled by the original injury, but post-traumatic arthritis can prolong your forced timeout from your active lifestyle.

3. How long it lasts, nobody knows

Post-traumatic arthritis can not only come on quickly, but it can also leave just as quickly. In most cases, post-traumatic arthritis resolves spontaneously after 2-3 months. That said, the disease can last much longer and become chronic arthritis in some people.

Whether you’ve been dealing with post-traumatic arthritis for a few weeks or a few months, it’s a good idea to come see us. There are steps that we can take to help you weather the current flare-up, as well as suggest ways in which you can prevent the problem from becoming a more permanent one. 

For example, we can try some interventional injections to help you find relief from the pain and inflammation of your post-traumatic arthritis and turn to platelet-rich plasma injections to support longer-term joint health.

If you suspect that you have post-traumatic arthritis, it’s important to take prompt action to get back to your active lifestyle. To get started, please contact our office in Jonesboro, Georgia, to schedule an appointment.