Osteoarthritis—Not Just a Disease of Aging
When you think of osteoarthritis you may think that it won’t affect you until later in life, but osteoarthritis affects people of all ages. According to the Arthritis Foundation, nearly 27 million Americans are living with symptoms associated with osteoarthritis.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear over time condition, and typically affects the weight bearing joints in your body (knees, hips or back). A loss of function in these joints has been linked to a lack of ability to work, and a reduced overall quality of life. In fact, arthritis is the leading cause of physical disability among adults 18 years of age and older, with osteoarthritis being the most common form of arthritis in this age group.
In our bodies, cartilage is found where two bones come together to form a joint. The cartilage serves to protect your joints so that the bones do not rub against each other. Bone rubbing against bone is very painful, and may lead to clicking or popping during movement.
Symptoms experienced with osteoarthritis are:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Early morning stiffness
- Warmth around a joint
- Redness of the skin around a joint
- Reduced ability to move
- Weakness that occurs with joint pain
- Difficulty walking, reaching, and moving
There is a clear link between obesity and the development of osteoarthritis of the knee. Currently, there are no treatments that will reverse the arthritic changes within the joint. However, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has developed guidelines for the treatment of this osteoarthritis in 2008. These guidelines include weight loss and activity modification. A study performed in 2005 determined that for every 1 pound of weight a person loses 4 pounds of force is taken off the knee.
What if activity and exercise only increases your pain?
Finding a way to modify an exercise routine can be of great benefit for the joints in your body. The guidelines developed by the AAOS also include stretching and strengthening. The goals are to decrease the pain in the joint, improve range of motion, and decrease weakness. Both stretching and strengthening activities are directly related to what we as physical therapists provide to our patients.
At Spine & Sport, our dedicated team of physical therapists will customize a treatment plan to assist in achieving your goals. We make it our responsibility to educate you about what you can do to help yourself. You owe it to yourself to do everything possible to decrease the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. So, if you or a friend is living with osteoarthritis, make an appointment and let us help you get the results you deserve.