Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara

Orthopedic Surgeons & Sports Medicine located in Santa Barbara, CA & Solvang, CA

Arthritis is a common condition that can limit your mobility and make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. Arthritis can affect anyone but is most common in women and occurs more frequently with age. At the Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon William Gallivan, MD, and his team provide personalized arthritis treatment, catered to the individual needs of each patient. To speak with Dr. Gallivan about your arthritis pain, book an appointment by phone or online today.


What is arthritis?

Arthritis refers to several conditions that cause swelling and tenderness in the joints. Arthritis causes stiffness in the joints that typically worsens over time. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. 


Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones begins to gradually wear down. This protective cartilage allows your bones and joints to move smoothly. 

Without it, your bones lose their cushion and eventually begin to rub against each other, causing pain and stiffness. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Injuries
  • Bone deformities

Osteoarthritis is considered a degenerative condition, meaning without treatment, the condition and its symptoms continue to worsen. Although joint damage can’t be reversed, there are strategies for effectively managing symptoms and restoring joint function. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when your immune system attacks the lining of your joints. Rheumatoid arthritis results in inflammation, thickening the lining of your joints, destroying cartilage and bone. 

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it’s believed to be genetic. Rheumatoid arthritis often begins in the small joints of the hands and feet and gradually spreads to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders. 

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Fatigue
  • Tenderness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Grating, popping, or cracking of the joint

If you’re experiencing persistent joint pain and stiffness, speaking with an orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible can help you avoid long-term bone and joint damage. 

How is arthritis treated?

Your doctor begins treatment by properly diagnosing your condition. In addition to osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, patients can be diagnosed with several other less common types of arthritis, including gout, septic arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. 

Your condition is diagnosed using X-rays to look at the status of your joints and bones. Your doctor may also perform additional imaging tests like an MRI or ultrasound. 

Treatment for your arthritis pain depends on your diagnosis. At the Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara, Dr. Gallivan and his team develop personalized treatment plans based on your diagnosis, symptoms, and personal medical history. 

In addition to simple lifestyle modifications like weight management, exercise, and assistive devices (canes, shoe inserts, etc.), treatments offered at the Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara include:

  • Medications
  • Lubrication injections
  • Cortisone injections
  • Computer-navigated joint alignment
  • Joint preservation surgery
  • Stem cell therapy

The Orthopedic Institute of Santa Barbara specializes in a number of traditional and innovative arthritis treatments. To find out which treatment is best for you, call the office or book your appointment online.