Arthritis is a common condition occurring in about 50% of adults 65 and older. Severe inflammation in the joints prevents flexibility and movement. Arthritis usually manifests in the hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders. Hips, knees and ankles are most susceptible to arthritis because they have to carry the weight of the body. While arthritis can only be treated, there is active research to find a cure.
Types of Arthritis
There are two main types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is more common in women and rheumatoid arthritis is more common in men.
Osteoarthritis is degeneration of the joints that is caused by the wearing down of them over time. Because the joints are responsible for carrying weight, the condition can occur prematurely or become rapidly worse depending on the weight of the patient. Osteoarthritis manifests when the cartilage between the bones wears down until there is only bone connecting with bone. Since this type of arthritis most commonly occurs in weight-bearing joints, the body parts that typically suffer are hips, knees, and ankles.
Overweight patients, however, are not the only targets. Sport enthusiasts and active individuals are susceptible to osteoarthritis because of the impact intense physical activity has on the weight-bearing joints.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by stiff and sensitive joints. Remaining immobile for an extended period of time may cause pain to intensify. If the condition is not diagnosed and treated quickly enough, disability may result.
Unlike osteoarthritis where pain is specifically felt in the joints, rheumatoid arthritis targets the immune system causing the body to turn against itself. The results are excruciating pain, inflammation, sensitivity, and loss of flexibility. This type of arthritis needs to be treated right away to prevent long-term damage.
There are many treatment options available to patients no matter their arthritis type. These effective methods of relief include:
- Customized movement plans designed to substitute activities that cause pain for alternatives that are better suited for the patient’s arthritis type
- Cane or walking assistant equipment to relieve pressure from joints
- Physical therapy designed to help with joint function, increase mobility, and decrease pain.
- Joint injections to reduce inflammation and help with pain
- Prolotherapy: non-surgical ligament and tendon reconstructive therapy