Osteoarthritis Diagnosis and Treatment

The orthopedic specialists and pain medicine specialists at Mercy provide expertise in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Patients in the Baltimore region turn to our doctors to help relieve pain in their knees, hips, shoulders or hands due to osteoarthritis.



About Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when the joint cartilage that cushions the end of bones wears down. The surface of the bones becomes rough, which causes bone to rub on bone and can be very painful.

Patients may experience pain, swelling and reduced motion in their joints. Symptoms develop slowly and typically get worse over time. The most commonly affected areas are the hands, hips, knees, neck and spine.

Osteoarthritis causes may include:

  • Hereditary
  • Obesity
  • Physical work situations
  • Fractures or broken bones
Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms of osteoarthritis often develop slowly and worsen over time. These symptoms may include:

  • Joint paint
  • Swelling of the hands, hips, knee and spine joints
  • Reduced motion in joints
  • Stiffness

Pain management specialists diagnose osteoarthritis with:

  • X-rays
  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
  • Physical exam
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis

There's no known cure for osteoarthritis, but treatments can help to reduce pain and maintain joint movement.  

Often non-surgical treatment options are tried first to help relieve arthritis symptoms:

  • Physical therapy
  • Rest or activity modification
  • Weight loss
  • Bracing
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) injection
  • Radiofrequency ablation/neurolysis

Surgery becomes a treatment option when non-surgical options are not providing arthritis relief.

Surgical treatments for arthritis of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand include:

Surgical treatment options for arthritis of the hip and knee include:

The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital at Mercy combines surgical expertise and advanced technologies to offer renowned Centers focused on a full range of bone and joint conditions, injury care, joint preservation and orthopedic reconstruction surgery.