How to Reduce the Risk of Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in joints. There are about 100 different types of arthritis. A joint is a place in the body where 2 bones meet. Arthritis may also affect other body tissue near the joints. This includes muscles, tendons, and ligaments. With some forms of arthritis, the whole body may have symptoms.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease that affects the joints in your body. Cartilage covers the joints between bones, protecting and cushioning them. OA occurs when the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility. According to the Arthritis Foundation, OA affects about 27 million Americans and is the most common chronic condition of the joints.

Some risk factors for OA include:

  1. heredity
  2. gender
  3. age

Chances of getting OA increase with age as cartilage breaks down. Women who have gone through menopause have a higher risk of getting OA because their bodies slow down or stop producing estrogen, which helps bones grow. OA can also be inherited.

There is no cure for OA, however, you can manage symptoms and reduce risk factors. If you do develop OA, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to slow the course of the disease

Here are four steps you can take now to reduce the risk of osteoarthritis or its progression.

Control Weight

If you are at a healthy weight, maintaining that weight may be the most important thing you can do to prevent osteoarthritis. If you are overweight, losing weight may be your best hedge against the disease.

Being overweight strains the joints, particularly those that bear the body’s weight such as the knees, hips, and joints of the feet, causing the cartilage to wear away.

Weight loss of at least 5% of body weight may decrease stress on the knees, hips, and lower back. In a study of osteoarthritis in a population in Framingham, Mass., researchers estimated that overweight women who lost 11 pounds or about two body mass index (BMI) points, decreased their risk of osteoarthritis by more than 50%, while a comparable weight gain was associated with an increased risk of later developing knee OA. If you already have osteoarthritis, losing weight may help improve symptoms.

Daily Exercise

Daily exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight, which is an important way you can reduce your risk of arthritis. Because your knees support your body weight, being obese can be very damaging to those joints. Being ten pounds overweight increases the force on your knees by 30 to 60 pounds with each step you take.

Perform low-impact aerobic exercises, like walking and swimming, to improve your overall health and reduce pressure on your joints. To maximize the benefits of exercise, add simple weight training and stretching to your program to strengthen muscles and maintain your flexibility and range of motion.

Diet and exercise can help you maintain a weight that’s not taxing on your joints.

Avoid Injuries

Putting a lot of stress on your joints can cause serious wear and tear that can eventually result in osteoarthritis. Playing sports and sustaining an injury can severely damage the cartilage in your joints. These injured joints are more likely to develop arthritis even though symptoms most likely won’t show up until many years after an injury was sustained. About fifteen percent of people diagnosed with osteoarthritis might have developed the disease as the result of an injury.

Improve Posture

Correct posture takes the pressure off of stressed joints and can help prevent arthritis in the spine, hips, and knees. Studies have also shown that standing up straight can boost mood and battle depression. Perfecting your posture can have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing and reduce your risk of developing arthritis. Improve your posture by performing exercises that strengthen your core muscles and keep your back straight.

While you may not be able to completely prevent arthritis from occurring in your joints, making these steps can be useful for reducing pain and other symptoms. Besides, there are many treatments your doctor can recommend or prescribe.

If you are living with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, Call 760-416-4511 or visit our website @ to make an appointment to see Dr. Douglas Roger, MD today.