What is post-traumatic arthritis?

Post-traumatic arthritis is brought about by wearing out of the joint due to any form of physical damage. The impairment might be due to sports, falls, vehicular accidents or any source of physical trauma. These injuries can impair the cartilage and/or bone which alters the joint mechanics and allowing it to wear out quickly. The wearing out process is hastened by continued injury and excess body weight.


The general indications of post-traumatic arthritis that are likely to arise include:

  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Buildup of fluid in the joint
  • Reduced tolerance for sports, walking, climbing up stairs and other activities that stress on the joint

Post-traumatic arthritis is responsible for causing a small percentage of osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and ankle.


Post-traumatic arthritis is responsible for causing a small percentage of osteoarthritis of the knee, hip and ankle.

Can it be prevented?

Post-traumatic arthritis could not be prevented. It can be minimized by preventing any injuries. Since it could not be prevented, surgical treatment of the injury to restore the damaged joint can help. In addition, maintaining a normal body weight can also help.

Management of post-traumatic arthritis

The management for post-traumatic arthritis is started with cutting down weight, engaging in low impact exercise as well as reinforcement of the muscles around the joint as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The affected joints might receive an injection of cortisone or substances that act as artificial joint fluid. All these measures are meant on making the joint comfortable and functional.

Once arthritis progresses to a phase where these measures are no longer effective in dealing with the pain and maintaining functionality, surgical treatment might be suggested.

The surgical approach might include debriding, reconstruction or replacement of the worn out joint surfaces. Always bear in mind that post-traumatic arthritis progresses over time. The joint surfaces wear out further with use throughout the years.

Luckily, once the non-surgical measures could not effectively manage the condition, the surgical approach can provide lasting relief.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on post-traumatic arthritis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage this type of arthritis, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.


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