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What is post-traumatic arthritis?

"Arthritis" is defined as inflammation of a joint. The most common cause is wearing out of joint surface cartilage (osteoarthritis). Post-traumatic arthritis is a common form of osteoarthritis and occurs due to a physical injury of any kind to a joint.

How many people are affected by post-traumatic arthritis?

Post-traumatic arthritis causes about 12% of osteoarthritis of the hip, knee, and ankle. This means that it affects about 5.6 million people in the United States.

What causes post-traumatic arthritis?

Post-traumatic arthritis is caused by the wearing out of a joint that has had any kind of physical injury. The injury could be from sports, a vehicle accident, a fall, a military injury, or any other source of physical trauma. Such injuries can damage the cartilage and/or the bone, changing the mechanics of the joint and making it wear out more quickly. The wearing-out process is accelerated by continued injury and excess body weight.

What are the symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis?

The symptoms of post-traumatic arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Fluid accumulation in the joint
  • Decreased tolerance for walking, sports, stairs, and other activities that stress the joint.