Can an injury cause arthritis?

can an injury cause arthritis

Arthritis is a kind of condition that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation. The knees and hips are some of the most vulnerable areas for arthritis, though it can affect joints throughout the body. The inflammation in the joints can lead to symptoms including chronic pain, swelling and stiffness. Specific symptoms can sometimes vary depending on the type of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, can cause symptoms like numbness, tingling and low-grade fever. If you are experiencing any arthritis symptoms, finding effective treatment is vital.

When you think about arthritis, you might imagine a chronic condition that develops and progresses over time. Typically the cause is an autoimmune disorder or gradual tissue degradation. However, injuries can play a role too. In some cases, an injury can actually cause arthritis. This kind of arthritis is called post-traumatic arthritis. Are you experiencing arthritis symptoms after sustaining an injury? If so, professional physical therapy treatment can be crucial to your recovery. By learning more about post-traumatic arthritis, you can take a proactive role in your treatment.

How an injury can cause arthritis

Post-traumatic arthritis is a form of osteoarthritis. This means it is caused by damage to the bones and cartilage surrounding your joints. Injuries such as bone fractures can hinder your joint function. This can cause more wear and tear on the joint and lead to post-traumatic arthritis. Injuries can cause arthritis in a variety of situations. Many people experience motor vehicle injuries or sports injuries that end up causing arthritis. Even injuries through performing arts such as gymnastics can cause arthritis symptoms. Fortunately, recovery is possible. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis symptoms usually go away. With the right treatment, you can experience total relief within months.

Ways physical therapy can treat injury-caused arthritis


  • Exercise — Building strength and flexibility around your joints can help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Your physical therapist will develop an exercise plan tailored to your needs and capabilities. Exercises that increase joint support are especially effective. The specific exercises will mainly depend on the location of your injury. If your injury and the arthritis it caused are centered around the knee, you may engage in exercises that work out your thighs and calves. If the arthritis affects your wrist or shoulder instead, then the exercises will be substantially different. Regardless of your specific injury site, your PT exercises will typically focus on stretching and strengthening the muscles that support your joints. As your treatment continues, your physical therapist may adjust your exercise plan to adapt to changes in your condition.

  • Manual therapy — Want a direct hands-on physical therapy treatment? Manual therapy is when a physical therapist uses their hands to move your joints and tissue. This kind of treatment can help reduce stiffness and improve your range of motion. One of the main manual therapy techniques applied to arthritis is called joint mobilization. With this technique, your physical therapist can apply controlled force and gentle pressure to move your joint in a way you might not be able to manage on your own. By moving restricted joints, manual therapy can help restore your normal range of motion and ease inflammation in the area. While joint mobilization is typically done with hands alone, some forms of hands-on physical therapy use specialty tools. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) can help relieve pain and promote healing through blood circulation. With a range of manual techniques, your physical therapist can tailor your treatment to yield optimal results.

  • Dry needling — If you are looking for a treatment that offers rapid relief from pain and tension, dry needling is a great option. With dry needling, a trained physical therapist will insert sterile needles into specific points on your body. These needles are empty. Instead of injecting medicine, they serve to trigger natural healing processes in your body. By relaxing your muscles, dry needling can make it easier to move your joints. As a reliable method for pain and tension relief, dry needling is often used in conjunction with other treatments to address arthritis. If your arthritis is caused by an injury, dry needling’s healing benefits can help accelerate your recovery.

Address your injury-caused arthritis at Armor Physical Therapy

Do you have an injury that is causing arthritis symptoms? At Armor Physical Therapy, our team can help you each step of the way toward long-term recovery. We can work with you to develop a custom recovery timeline and offer one-on-one support as you pass each milestone. With a range of treatments designed to address arthritis, we are here to help you find comfort and reach your full potential.

Call us or request an appointment today for post-traumatic arthritis treatment.

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