Osteoarthritis is a joint disease which affects one in four people over the age of 45, although it is a condition that can affect people of all ages. If you have pain in your joints when you put strain on them, the underlying cause may be osteoarthritis. Any joint in the body can be affected, but the most common joints to suffer symptoms are knees and hips. There are several factors that contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, but some of them are more common than others. Regardless of the root cause, it is possible to prevent osteoarthritis and at the same time counteract further progression of the disease.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis
In purely medical terms, osteoarthritis means that the cartilage in the joints gradually breaks down. There are a number of known causes for this, but no single cause is fully established. Long-term negative strain on a joint is a major contributory factor, but heredity and past damage also have a role. However, it is possible to avoid many risk factors provided you are aware of them. If you start to feel the symptoms, you should take a close look at your lifestyle and see what you can do to prevent osteoarthritis.
What are the signs of osteoarthritis caused by joint damage or repeated strain?
If you have previously had a joint injury, the risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life is greater. This is because the cartilage is put under different strain than before. You are at particular risk if you have had an injury to the cruciate ligament or another knee injury. Being overweight also puts a great deal of strain on the joint cartilage and contributes to more rapid development of osteoarthritis than in people of normal weight. Moreover, overweight people often have more symptoms from their osteoarthritis.
One of the most important measures you can take to alleviate osteoarthritis is to use training. Keeping physically fit is important, but it is important not to overload the joints. For example, participating in some sports is not ideal if you suffer from osteoarthritis. This includes sports that involve explosive movements such as jumping, or where the risk of injury is high.
A job with movement patterns that are the same every day, in other words repeated movements and strain, may increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis. It is therefore important that you think about varying your movements to prevent osteoarthritis. Some examples of professional groups that are particularly vulnerable are floor layers, hairdressers and mail carriers. This is because they tend to perform the same type of movements every day. Therefore, remember to rest and take breaks during the working day.
It is possible to prevent osteoarthritis
We all have different genetic susceptibilities which have an impact on our risk of developing osteoarthritis. Find out from our family and relatives if they have experienced osteoarthritis symptoms. If they have, you can see a doctor or physiotherapist and get advice on how it is possible to prevent the disease. There are specific osteoarthritis exercises that we can do for the purposes of prevention.
Physical activity and training is recommended as treatment because it works to both treat and prevent osteoarthritis. However, there are exceptions. One of them is taking part in sports at an elite level. This can make you push your body too hard, causing problems instead. If you are unsure about what to do, you can always contact a physiotherapist or personal trainer. These professionals can help put a training program together for you.
It is possible to both treat and prevent osteoarthritis
There are many myths about what causes osteoarthritis, how to prevent it and how to treat the disease. Even if statistically it mainly affects older people, age in itself is not a risk factor. Instead, it depends on how you treat your joints.
In order to prevent osteoarthritis, it is important to look at your lifestyle and, among other things, avoid performing movements could cause excessive strain on the joints. There are also many specially designed osteoarthritis exercises you can do. These work both as treatment when the osteoarthritis develops and as prevention. Within health care today, many unnecessary osteoarthritis operations are carried out on sufferers who could probably have alleviated their symptoms through various training exercises. Therefore, surgery should be seen as a last resort if the instructor-led and continuous training does not produce results.