Post-Traumatic Injury Arthritis - Symptoms and Treatments


Traumatic arthritis is an old problem that only recently received attention, thanks to one particular doctor who chose to zone in and focus on researching the specifics of this condition.

Although scientists and medical professionals know the types of injuries and damage that often lead to this type of arthritis, current research is trying to find the reason posttraumatic-type arthritis occurs. Once scientists understand the biological process of development, they can move forward and work on preventive measures, treatment options and possibly a cure for this painful disease.

Types of Injuries

A number of injuries could cause trauma that is likely to develop into arthritis either directly at the area or in nearby regions. The most obvious of these injuries include fractures at, around or near a joint, harm to a ligament or cartilage and direct damage to the actual joint.

When a joint injury occurs, other processes in the body take place that may contribute to, or cause traumatic arthritis. For instance, an injured joint may become home to adhesions or loose entities, such as cell masses or fragments of tissue, bone or cartilage.

These natural body materials are not harmful under normal circumstances but when lodged in the wrong location, can lead to further joint damage by softening the surface area or causing an infection, which is another reason this type of arthritis develops.

Arthritis may also derive from trauma that does not directly impact the joint, as in the case of physical stress or the loss of motion. If you injure a part of your body, this can put strain on another area, particularly the ankle, thus causing early deterioration of a joint. An injury or disease could also limit mobility, leading to stiffness in a joint, which increases the rate of deterioration.


Traumatic arthritis differs from the types of arthritis that occur as a result of the aging process, which means using the same treatment and prevention options may not have the same outcome. Arthritis generally develops over years and for those prone to the ailment, is a natural part of the aging process brought on by an overproduction of specific proteins and collagen in the bone cartilage. This exertion causes the biological mechanisms to burn out, thus ceasing the maintenance of existing cartilage, which eventually leads to its deterioration.

In patients that develop arthritis due to a trauma, the opposite biological process occurs and production of the substances necessary to maintain the cartilage decreases. Initially, the cartilage cells are alive but not active, which is the reason production drops but then the cells die off and do not regenerate, leading to cessation of cartilage maintenance and ultimately, arthritis. This type of arthritis also tends to occur in people between the ages of 18-45 and comes on in less than a year after an injury.

However, not everyone who obtains an injury gets traumatic arthritis, a fact that encourages doctors to take even more care and precautions when performing surgery to treat these injuries.

Corrective Action

To treat arthritis, doctors generally prescribe medication, promote diet and exercise, or perform surgical procedures to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, the current means of treating arthritis due to trauma are no different from those used to treat aging arthritis but with ongoing research and studies, scientists are hopeful in creating preventive measures, especially since cartilage cells stay alive for some time after an injury.

If you have traumatic arthritis, it is important to talk to your doctor about treatment options but also to do your own research. In addition to medications and invasive procedures, you may look into holistic or natural means of treating your pain, such as wearing a copper bracelet or buying custom shoes with good arch support. Only you can determine the best course of action for alleviating your symptoms but to do so, keep an open mind and weigh the risks, as well as the benefits, of all your treatment options.

Common Locations for Trauma-Related Arthritis

Knee Arthritis - the symptoms range from mild to severe pain, and the treatment varies from suggestions for weight loss or drug regimens to full joint replacement.

Spinal Arthritis - can affect the entire spine, which includes the cervical or neck, the thoracic or the middle of the back, and the lumbar or lower part of the back.

Ankle Arthritis - this clinical disease can significantly limit a patient’s ability to participate in activities of recreation, the workplace, or even of daily living.

Shoulder Arthritis - is most commonly associated with five specific forms of joint damage, some of which you may know as rheumatoid, osteo or post-traumatic arthritis.

Hand Arthritis - can make buttoning a shirt, opening a can or holding a pen difficult, along with other every day activities.

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