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Osteoarthritis

Schwartzman Rheumatology

Sergio Schwartzman, MD

Rheumatologist located in Upper East Side, New York, NY

Osteoarthritis is a very common condition that is widespread in the population, affecting over 40 million Americans. It is predominantly the consequence of wear-and-tear and can result in significant pain. At his practice located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, world-leading rheumatologist Sergio Schwartzman, MD, has exceptional experience and knowledge in treating patients who have osteoarthritis. Dr. Schwartzman is also a clinical associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Call the New York City office today to schedule a consultation.

Osteoarthritis Q & A

What is osteoarthritis?

The term “arthritis” includes any disease that can affect the joints.  When this term is used, most people refer to osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis and functionally affects over 40 million Americans. This condition can affect any joint but tends to focus on the hands, feet, spine, knees, and hips.  

Although there may be a slight inflammatory component to osteoarthritis, this condition is predominantly the consequence of aging, wear-and-tear, and injury. Inflammatory types of arthritis, on the other hand, are associated with infectious and autoimmune diseases. This section focuses on osteoarthritis, but other sections cover some of the more common forms of autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis.

Joints are the meeting points of two bones and are generally responsible for movement. They have a protective coating of cartilage to ensure that friction is minimized and that these locations of movement slide smoothly against each other. Over time, the cartilage deteriorates and wears away, leaving the bones exposed. As this occurs, it can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the joints typical of arthritis. At times it can result in deformity of the joints. 

New medications to treat this condition are being investigated, and currently, there are many modalities that can be used to alleviate the pain associated with this illness and improve quality of life.

How is osteoarthritis diagnosed?

Generally, the diagnosis of osteoarthritis can be established by history and physical examination. There are adjunctive investigations to confirm the diagnosis and importantly to rule out other conditions. These tests could include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Joint fluid test
  • X-rays
  • CT (computerized tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Ultrasound

What treatments are there for osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, but there are treatment programs that help reduce pain and improve mobility. Most patients need a combination of several therapies to achieve the optimal results from treatment, such as:

  • Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • NSAID creams or gels
  • Capsaicin or menthol creams
  • Viscosupplementation and cortisone injections
  • Oral or injectable corticosteroids
  • Physical therapy
  • Splints or braces
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture

Leading a healthy lifestyle can also make a significant difference. Stopping smoking, losing weight, managing stress, getting regular exercise, and eating a healthy diet can all make a big contribution to reducing the effects of arthritis.

Get the expert treatment you need for osteoarthritis by calling Sergio Schwartzman, MD, today.