Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that breaks
down cartilage – the natural cushion inside your joints. The result is
painful inflammation. If you have osteoarthritis – the most common type
of arthritis – you have plenty of company. About 20 million Americans
have the condition.
Everyone experiences joint wear and tear,
but not everyone develops the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis. Follow
a few basic tips from PM&R physicians, and you can increase your
odds of keeping your joints pain free.
Catch the condition when joint pain first begins, and you might be
able to halt the progression of osteoarthritis. The right treatment plan
can boost your body’s natural self-repair process.
self-repair works: When you take a step, your moving body puts pressure
on your joints, especially the knees and hips. Most of the impact, which
is equal to about three or four times your body weight, is absorbed by
joint cartilage. Movement first compresses and then releases the joint,
squeezing water and nutrient-rich fluids in and out of the cartilage.
This fluid exchange, which keeps joints lubricated and resilient, also
Enjoying the benefits of physical activity
The movement that allows your joints to become lubricated also helps
lessen pain. Exercise also improves joint health by helping you shed
excess weight and strengthening muscles.
But if you have joint pain, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. A physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physician can help.