Arthritis is one of the leading causes of joint problems in America, with over 50 million adults currently reporting severe joint pain and inflammation. There are over a hundred types of arthritis conditions, including post traumatic arthritis. Though the main cause of arthritis is joint overuse and age-related wear and tear, post traumatic arthritis is a result of wearing out of a joint that has suffered a physical injury. Post traumatic arthritis affects approximately 5.6 million people in America alone and is responsible for 12 percent of all osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, and ankle. The disorder severely affects the joint mobility, keeping you from carrying out routine activities and requiring medical treatment. Continuing the discussion, the blog post discusses what is post traumatic arthritis, its causes, symptoms, and available treatment methods.

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Post traumatic arthritis may develop after a serious injury, such as fracture, dislocation, or physical trauma to the joint. In fact, severe injuries to the hands, feet, shoulders and knee can damage the cartilage/bone, thereby changing the joint mechanics and leading to faster degradation of the joint. The joint may also wear out faster as a result of continued injury and excess body weight. In older people, post traumatic arthritis mainly affects the ankle and knee joint region, as increased pressure on the joints may damage the cartilage. Any event that causes damage to the articular cartilage may give way to post traumatic arthritis. Hip-replacement surgery is the prefered treatment for endstage hip arthritis.

Must read: Troubled by Arthritis? Here are 5 Alternatives to Knee Replacement Surgery


Post traumatic arthritis may lead to a number of symptoms; however, they are more prominent in instances where repetitive injuries to the joint have occurred. Notable symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Though rare, there may be fluid in the joint

Apart from visible symptoms, some of which manifest during rest and get worse with activity, post traumatic arthritis restricts normal joint movement. As a result, patients experience great difficulty in walking, climbing stairs, playing sports, and carrying out routine activities that visit some amount of stress on the affected joint.


The doctor begins the diagnostics with a series of questions about the affected joint and reviewing its medical history. This may also include a physical examination to check for pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area, establish how often the problem occurs, and the triggers involved. If required, the physician may also use X-rays, CT Scans, imaging studies, and blood tests to confirm the presence of post traumatic arthritis.


The treatment for post traumatic arthritis generally involves weight loss to release excess pressure on the joints, and low impact exercises to strengthen muscles around the affected joint. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory injections such as Advil, Lodine, and Celebrex to relieve inflammation and pain around the joint. In addition, Cortisone injections can also help in reducing joint inflammation and restoring motion and flexibility. Surgery is usually the last resort, if the condition aggravates beyond a certain point and no longer responds to conventional modes of treatment. The surgery involves either reconstructing or replacing the worn out joints’ surfaces to relieve pain and any other manifestations. Though rare, medications, injections, and surgery may lead to potential complications, such as blood clots, infection, stomach irritation, and stroke. Most surgeries are successful in restoring normal, painless movement of the affected joints. The painful discomfort gradually subsides in a few months after surgery.


Though a sad reality, post-traumatic arthritis is not preventable as there is no control on events that can cause physical trauma to the joint. Recurrent strain on the injured joint can, however, be prevented. Watching your weight and doing low-impact exercises to strengthen the joints can help improve the condition. Timely medications and treatment can also prevent the condition from getting worse. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of post traumatic arthritis, specialists at Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center can help. Our doctors possess extensive experience in treating and managing post traumatic arthritis. To learn more about available treatment options, click here to book an appointment. You can also give us a call at 1-888-608-4762.