Here at Foothills, our experienced physical therapists and Arizona sports medicine professionals are no strangers to working with those affected by arthritis. Whether they’ve had arthritis for years or they’re working hard to prevent early onset, living with arthritis can be a challenge at work, at the gym, and even at home.
The first step to preventing or managing the effects of arthritis is to truly understand arthritis. Affecting more than 50 million Americans, arthritis is defined by the Arthritis Foundation as a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different conditions that can affect people of all ages. Often characterized by joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, most affected by arthritis are affected by one of two common conditions: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis, typically affecting those with a history of joint injury, is a progressive degenerative disorder that erodes joint cartilage over time. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that results in inflammation, pain, and fatigue.
But once you’ve done your research, how can you go about managing arthritis? And is there a way to prevent it?
While many have heard that those affected by arthritis should stay away from routine physical activity, research has shown that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Our AZ sports medicine professionals know that not only can exercise help with weight loss (which takes considerable pressure off of the knees), but it can work to strengthen your joints, helping you avoid further injury and pain. Be sure to meet with a trusted physical therapist before starting a fitness plan that’s right for you.
Though there are a number of different pain management treatments for every type of arthritis, one of the most effective non-medical treatments is regular physical therapy. By working alongside a trained physical therapist or AZ sports medicine professional, you’ll be able to improve your balance, build up your strength, and reduce the risk of injury – whether you’re relying on therapy for management or preventative measures.
Though joint protection is certainly a beneficial practice if you’re currently affected by arthritis, this step is an especially important one when it comes to preventing arthritis. Pay attention to your posture, take stretching breaks at work (or consider yoga), and increase your calcium intake. By implementing joint protection habits and techniques into your daily schedule, you’ll be able to stay proactive in your prevention.
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