Post-traumatic arthritis may develop after an injury to the joint in which the bone and cartilage do not heal properly. The joint is no longer smooth and these irregularities ultimately lead to more wear on the joint.
Injury to a joint, such as a bad sprain or fracture, can cause damage to the articular cartilage. Once this cartilage is damaged, it does not normally grow back. The defects are filled with scar tissue, which is not as good a material for covering joint surfaces as the cartilage.
Post-traumatic arthritis is treated similarly to osteoarthritis.
Your doctor may prescribe or recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medications (like aspirin or ibuprofen) and cold packs that may help to reduce inflammation as well as the pain associated with arthritis. Sometimes a local injection of cortisone helps to further reduce inflammation.
Orthotic devices sometimes help. Custom-made shoes and shoe inserts provide support for those with OA in the foot or ankle. Your doctor may recommend a brace or a cane to help take some of the pressure off of your affected joint while you walk if OA is affecting your hip.
If you are still experiencing arthritis pain and joint damage that's affecting your quality of life even after all other conservative measures have been taken, your doctor may suggest surgery to help relieve your pain and restore your mobility. Your doctor will determine the proper surgical treatment based on the severity of your arthritis. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.