For those living with osteoarthritis, daily activities such as climbing up a flight of stairs or opening a jar can be a challenging experience. It is a degenerative joint condition characterized by the wearing out of cartilage resulting in joint pain and stiffness. According to research studies by the Arthritis Foundation about 27 million people in the United States suffer with this condition.
Osteoarthritis affects people of all ages, but older individuals are more susceptible. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of disability among the elderly. Commonly affected joints are the knees, hips, lower back, and fingers.
Although there is no known cure for osteoarthritis, there is much you can do to effectively manage symptoms. Here are some tips for living with osteoarthritis:
- Try to lose excess weight to reduce stress on your joints. Even a small amount of weight loss makes a big difference to weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips.
- Perform a moderate amount of exercise every day. Don’t overdo it on days when your joints are feeling good or skip workouts on days when you have joint stiffness and discomfort.
- Use heat and cold therapy to manage symptoms. Heat application will help loosen up a stiff joint and cold packs will help reduce joint pain and inflammation.
- Modify your activities to avoid movements that cause pain, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep every day. It is when you are at rest that your body gets a chance to repair the wear and tear which occurs with activities of daily living.
- Learn as much as you can about your condition and ask your doctor or an orthopedic specialist about treatments that might be beneficial to you.
Risk factors for developing osteoarthritis include faulty genes, being female, obesity, and overuse of joints due to work or recreational activities. Contact South Palm Orthopedics for an in-depth evaluation and treatment recommendation if you suspect your joint pain may be due to osteoarthritis.
South Palm Orthopedics is a medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the body's musculoskeletal system. Our orthopedic surgeons have advanced fellowship training in the areas of hand & wrist, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, trauma and fractures, foot and ankle, and sports medicine. The physicians of South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.