How much do you know about osteoarthritis? You might even have the condition and still, have plenty of questions about it. Although the main cause of osteoarthritis – overuse – is commonly known, as is the fact that it occurs when the cartilage in the joints gets worn away, many people aren’t aware of these facts.
Men under the age of 45 are more likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This is due to the fact that men tend to have jobs that involve heavy lifting and repetitive movements. Sports play a factor as well. Many of the sports that men play in high school, including soccer, basketball, football, and even baseball, tend to place a lot of wear and tear on the knees.
When it comes to women, many are diagnosed with osteoarthritis at an older age, over 45 to be exact. Although many women don’t participate in the same activities as men, they do spend their later years doing a lot of standing, kneeling, and crouching as they clean the house, take care of the chores, and handle the gardening. This places a lot of strain on the weight-bearing joints, which leads to osteoarthritis.
Although the age ranges above are when osteoarthritis is typically diagnosed, there are some risk factors that can lead to ending up with this condition at a younger age. For example, if you are overweight, spend your time doing a job that requires a lot of load or weight bearing (such as standing at an assembly line), and don’t spend a lot of time building up your muscles, then you’re more likely to wear down the joints in your legs. In some cases, people are genetically predisposed to getting osteoarthritis. For example, if you have a parent or grandparent with knee or hip problems, then you are likely to end up with them as well.
If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis or think that you might have the condition, then you need to get into treatment right away. (Obviously, you’ll need to be officially diagnosed with it first, if you fall into that latter group.) The sooner that you begin treatment, the less likely you are to end up needing surgery. The diagnosis process usually involves getting x-rays, and MRI of the affected joint, and in some cases, a blood test. The blood test is done in order to rule out certain additional conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Once your physician knows for sure that you have osteoarthritis, you can put together a treatment plan. This could involve everything from losing weight to putting less stress on the joint, going into physical therapy in order to learn how to move the right way and make other parts of your body stronger and even taking specific medications. There are also orthobiologic options, and as an additional treatment if nothing else has worked, surgery.
To find out how Dr. Kevin Darr can provide you with relief from your osteoarthritis, contact us today.