Osteoarthritis Specialist

Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology

Rheumatologists located in Encinitas, CA

The degenerative nature of osteoarthritis can lead to chronic pain that grows steadily worse over time, making daily tasks increasingly difficult. At Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology in Encinitas, California, Natalie MacLean, MD, is an experienced rheumatologist who treats painful and chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis that affect the bones and joints. For help managing your osteoarthritis joint pain, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.

Osteoarthritis Q & A

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, a general term used to describe more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions affecting the joints. When you have osteoarthritis, the cartilage protecting the ends of your bones wears away.

You can experience osteoarthritis anywhere in your body, but it most often occurs in the hips, knees, hands, and spine.

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis causes a wide range of symptoms that can become worse with time. Common joint symptoms associated with this condition include:

  • Pain during or after movement
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Stiffness, especially upon waking or after periods of inactivity
  • Decreased range of motion and flexibility

When you have osteoarthritis, you might also experience a grinding or grating sensation when using the affected joint.

What causes osteoarthritis?

The cartilage covering the ends of your bones helps provide smooth joint movement. When osteoarthritis develops, this tissue grows rough and begins to wear away. This leads to friction when your bones rub together.

Several factors can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, such as:

  • Age-related degeneration
  • Being a woman, overweight, or obese
  • Previous joint injuries
  • A family history of the disease
  • Bone deformities, like defective cartilage or malformed joints

While you can’t reverse the degenerative effects of osteoarthritis, Dr. MacLean can help effectively manage your condition.

How is osteoarthritis treated?

Dr. MacLean brings a holistic approach to managing joint diseases like osteoarthritis. This generally includes a variety of pain management therapies, including anti-inflammatory medications and joint injections that treat your pain and inflammation at its source.

Another critical aspect of controlling osteoarthritis symptoms include strength and rehabilitation programs that may include physical and occupational therapy or tai chi and yoga programs. These strategies help increase your muscle strength around the affected joint and provide new ways of performing everyday tasks without adding stress on your painful joint. They also use gentle movements to reduce your stress and increase your flexibility.

When osteoarthritis doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. MacLean might recommend joint replacement therapy to remove damaged portions of your joint and completely replace them with plastic or metal alternatives.

To find effective ways of managing your osteoarthritis, call Kaplan MacLean Rheumatology or schedule an appointment online today.