Affecting more than 32.5 million adults in the United States, osteoarthritis is a common source of pain, stiffness, and decreasing range of motion in adults. Characterized by the damage or breakdown of cartilage between bones, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and typically affects the hips, hands, and knees.
With osteoarthritis’ prevalence, it’s only natural to wonder what causes it and if there is anything you can do to prevent it. Let’s take a closer look.
Causes Of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis itself is characterized by a breakdown or structural change of the cartilage and other tissues within a joint. Osteoarthritis results from changes to the tissues themselves, which then cause degeneration that leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Some factors that increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis include:
- being overweight or obese
- joints that have not formed correctly
- overuse from repetitive joint movements
- history of surgery or injury to a joint
- family history of osteoarthritis
Unfortunately, while we know that these factors may increase the risk of osteoarthritis, there is little known about what causes these structural changes in the joint tissue.
There are two types of osteoarthritis: primary and secondary. The cause of primary osteoarthritis is entirely unknown, whereas secondary osteoarthritis is known to be caused by another infection, disease, or injury. These other conditions affect the joints, which then causes them to break down.
What Causes Osteoarthritis Pain?
While osteoarthritis begins with joint degeneration, it causes the most pain and other unpleasant side effects when the bone starts to be affected.
As the joint tissues break down, causing the cartilage to wear down, the bone ends can thicken and form spurs, which are bony growths. These bone spurs interfere with normal joint movement, limiting the range of motion. Additionally, fluid-filled cysts may develop in the bone, further restricting movement.
While it is impossible to prevent all cases of osteoarthritis, you can take steps to limit your risk of developing this progressive disease.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Holding onto excessive weight can cause the joints in your lower body, especially the knees, to withstand extra stress, which can increase osteoarthritis risk over time. By maintaining a healthy weight, this risk is lowered.
Avoid Certain Exercises
Exercising is good for your body and for preserving your joint health, but only if you choose the correct exercises. To prevent osteoarthritis, avoid exercises that force the joints to bear an excessive load, such as high impact activities like running. Instead, opt for low-impact activities such as cycling or swimming.
Avoid The Same Position for Too Long
For those who work sitting down, it is vital to take regular breaks to move around and prevent the joints from withstanding the same stress and strain for too long. Maintaining good posture throughout the day is also crucial for avoiding unnecessary pressure on your joints.
Osteoarthritis has no known cause but remains very common. Because of this, it is best to implement the above tips to prevent osteoarthritis, especially if you have a history of joint injury or a family history of osteoarthritis.
If you experience any symptoms of osteoarthritis, it is always best to reach out to us for the best Osteoarthritis Specialist. As a progressive disease, early treatment is the best way to slow the progression and help manage your pain.