Osteoarthritis – also often called just “arthritis” because it is the most common form of arthritis – happens when your joints experience pain and inflammation due to wear and tear. The condition occurs when the protective cartilage in the joint becomes worn down and degraded. The damaged cartilage cannot adequately cushion and protect your joint, leading to pain and the inability to move the joint as easily as before.
While many people think that osteoarthritis is inevitable, you can do a lot to minimize your risk of developing this disorder. Let’s talk about some of the risks of developing osteoarthritis and what you can do about it.
Risks of Developing Arthritis
People who develop osteoarthritis tend to have one or more of the following factors that lead to susceptibility of the condition:
If you have immediate blood-related family members (parents, siblings) who have or have had osteoarthritis, then you are at a higher risk of developing the condition. You might have inherited a gene that promotes joint inflammation.
The older you are, the more years you have been placing wear-and-tear pressure on your joints and their protective cartilage. Degradation can eventually develop, making your joints less efficient with time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that more than 30% of people above 65 years of age develop osteoarthritis.
Before 45 years of age, men are more prone to developing joint disorders; after this age, the balance shifts toward women. Overall, women are more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
One possible reason for this is that menopause causes hormonal changes that affect how the body utilizes calcium to maintain bones. The lower utilization in older women makes it harder for joints to perform maintenance tasks.
Overweight people are more prone to osteoarthritis. This is because the extra weight puts extra pressure on the joints, thereby making a person more likely to have disorders particularly affecting the bones in the knees, hips, and spine.
Sports and Repetitive Activities
Since osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear, repetitive movements tend to cause the condition. For example, occupations that require a lot of kneeling or squatting tend to increase the incidence of knee arthritis. Younger people who are involved in sports can also develop osteoarthritis due to repetitive motions in the joints, such as in the shoulder of a tennis player.
A lack of fitness also compounds the problem. Exercise trains the joints to become stronger, so it leads to a lower incidence of arthritis even with the increased activity.
Previous injuries of a joint can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis years down the line. Even minor sprains may be a risk factor.
Infections and Diseases
Infections that attack the musculoskeletal system may damage cartilage, leading to increased deterioration. Plus, certain metabolic disorders, including diabetes, slow down healing and form mineral deposits in the joints, causing more damage.
Orthopedic Doctor in Boynton Beach
Our physicians here at the Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches focus on dealing with orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis. Our medical team will help you receive the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (561) 733-5888 or fill out our appointment request form now. We look forward to helping you enjoy life with less pain and more living!