Understanding and Preventing Osteoarthritis
As we get older, the cartilage between our bones can break down and be worn down from constant use—making your joints prone to persistent pain and even injury. This is called osteoarthritis (OA); it is a degenerative condition characterized by pain and inflammation within your joints, also affecting other tissues surrounding the affected joint.
Although experiencing wear-and-tear to your joints throughout your life is inevitable, there are things you can do to slow down the development of the degenerative condition. Here’s what you should know.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
While it’s natural for the cartilage that protects the ends of your bones to break down on its own over time, there are also certain factors that can increase your risk of experiencing osteoarthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these factors may include:
- Overuse or injury to your joints: Repetitive use of your joints or excessive amounts of stress can cause joint damage and increase your risk of developing OA.
- Age: As you get older, you experience regular deterioration of your joints from regular use.
- Gender: Women are more likely to develop OA.
- Being overweight: Excessive weight adds pressure on weight-bearing joints like your knees and hips, leading to faster deterioration of cartilage.
- Genetics: People with a family history of OA are more likely to develop the condition.
Getting regular exercise is an excellent way to preserve your joint health. Not only does regular exercise protect your joints from a decrease in range-of-motion, but it also helps to support the muscles around your joints—helping to protect them from injury.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Because excess amounts of weight add pressure to your weight-bearing joints, maintaining a healthy weight is an effective way to relieve that stress. Talk to your doctor about the best options for you when it comes to approaching the subject of weight loss.
Experiencing a joint injury significantly increases your risk of developing osteoarthritis. By taking the proper precautions to prevent joint injuries, you can protect the cartilage in your joints from wearing away. When participating in physical exercise, be sure you warm up before and cool down afterward. Also, be sure to practice proper form when working out or trying new exercises.
Address Any Persistent Pain
If you experience persistent pain that lasts for more than a few days, you should speak with your doctor to find the source of your pain. This can help you to address the issue and find an effective treatment plan. If certain issues go untreated, they can cause extensive joint damage.
Orthopedic Care in Gillette, Wyoming
If you have concerns when it comes to your orthopedic health, Powder River Orthopedics & Spine (PROS) is here to help in Gillette, Wyoming. We can evaluate your options so you can rest assured that you get the best possible outcome and are back to a happy and active life in no time.
Call the PROS at 307.686.1413 or visit www.cchwyo.org/PROS to learn more.