Osteoarthritis is a very common condition and its frequency increases with age. It is also seen in younger patients but this is more commonly as a consequence of a secondary process or due to past trauma. The management of osteoarthritis makes up a very significant part of the elective orthopaedic workload. Hip and knee replacement (arthroplasty) are among the most successful operations that are currently performed. A detailed knowledge of hip and knee arthritis is essential including the underlying disease process, the radiological features and how the conditions are ultimately managed. However, a working knowledge should also be attained for osteoarthritis of the shoulder and fingers. Much of the following sections will discuss surgical management.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder which primarily affects synovial joints. Its systemic features include inflammation in the lungs, heart and sclerae.
The seronegative spondarthritides include a number of conditions which are al1 inflammatory in nature. They predominantly affect the axial skeleton and proximal large joints. As with rheumatoid arthritis they are also associated with a number of extra-articular conditions. This section looks at ankylosing spondylitis.