Top 6 Arthritis Myths Busted
Updated by Cory Calendine, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon
In the United States, more than 54 million people suffer with arthritis pain. Around the world, arthritis remains a leading cause of disability and suffering. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, but many forms exist including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Symptoms of arthritis most commonly include pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling in and around your joints.
Dr. Cory Calendine, Orthopedic Surgeon and Hip and Knee Replacement Specialist with the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee explains there’s a lot of misinformation about arthritis pain and treatment. Here are some common myths associated with arthritis:
All joint pain is arthritis. False!
Several conditions, including tendon inflammation, bursitis and other soft-tissue injuries also cause joint pain and stiffness. Early evaluation by a physician can lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment. Early treatment of arthritis pain and disability is vital. People that are suffering with arthritis have a better quality of life if they are diagnosed early, receive treatment, and learn how to manage their condition. The path to a better quality of life begins with the correct diagnosis.
Only elderly people get arthritis. False!
While the risk of arthritis does generally increase as you age, people of all ages get arthritis including children and young adults. Juvenile Arthritis (JA) is a group of inflammatory disease conditions that affect nearly 300,000 kids and teens in the United States. Even the most common forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can begin causing symptoms in early adulthood. Approximately 14% of adults have symptomatic osteoarthritis of at least one joint by the age of 25, and at least 34% of adults aged 65 and older have osteoarthritis. Worldwide estimates are that half of people 65 and older have symptomatic arthritis.
Arthritis can not be prevented. False!
While some risk factors for arthritis including age, gender and genetics cannot be modified, you can take steps to reduce your risk or delay the onset of some forms of arthritis. For the most common forms of arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active, avoiding smoking, and minimizing your risk of injury during activities can all help prevent arthritis as you age.
Exercise makes arthritis worse. False!
Exercise can help prevent and be part of an effective treatment program for arthritis. Even higher impact exercise like running has been shown to lower the risk of developing joint arthritis. Exercise helps build and maintain muscle strength that supports your joints and can improve your flexibility and range of motion. Your doctor can guide you and suggest exercise that can help protect your joints and quality of life.
When joint pain starts, you should just wait and see if the pain goes away. False!
As I mentioned initially, there are many causes of joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis is a progressive disease that often begins with relatively mild soreness and swelling. Untreated joint symptoms can limit activity, increase self-isolation and exacerbate other physical and mental conditions. The correct early diagnosis and treatment will not only relieve symptoms, but ca also slow progressive joint damage. If you are having symptoms like pain, stiffness and swelling, seek medical care early to confirm that it is arthritis, and to start treatment that can make a big difference in your quality of life.
There is no treatment for arthritis. False!
While there isn’t a single cure for arthritis, there are many effective interventions including medications, physical therapies, joint injections and lifestyle changes that can help tremendously. For patients with more severe arthritis symptoms, joint replacement surgery can provide almost complete improvement in joint pain and limitations. If you are suffering more than minimal joint pain and have not found relief with medications and therapies, consider discussing joint replacement options with an orthopedic specialist. Advanced treatment options are available. You deserve to enjoy a pain-free, active lifestyle, and there is hope.
Patient education is the to key to bringing awareness to the growing prevalence of arthritis, the need for additional research and advocacy, and to encourage physical activity among the millions of adults with arthritis. In that spirit, consider sharing this information, and spread the news that there is hope for those suffering with arthritis.
What is Arthritis? The Facts:
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