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By: Jessica Freedman, ATC

What is arthritis and who can get it?

While arthritis may be very common, it is not always well understood.  Arthritis is actually not a single disease, but rather an informal way of referring to joint pain or inflammation. One of the most prevalent types of arthritis, osteoarthritis, occurs as result of degenerative changes occurring over time within a joint. Osteoarthritis involves the wearing away cartilage, the smooth cushioned surface at the end of our bones, causing the joint to “bone on bone” leaving the joint unprotected. Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which results in inflammation within many joints in the body. While arthritis is often associated with increased age, people of all ages, sexes, and lifestyles can develop arthritis.

Common Causes of Arthritis:

The most common cause of arthritis is just the normal wear and tear we put on our joints throughout our lives, known as osteoarthritis. Any injury or illness to a joint can further exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage. While osteoarthritis is normally localized to a single joint, rheumatoid arthritis can affect many joints at one time.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which your body’s immune system attacking your joints, leading to overall joint inflammation.

Symptoms of arthritis can include:

  • Inability to move a joint normally
  • Recurring pain or tenderness within a joint
  • Swelling within the joints
  • Redness or warmth around a joint

How can physical therapy help improve joint health?

If left untreated, arthritis can have a significant impact on your daily life. It causes you lose range of motion within your joints, making activities such as walking, going up stairs, or even just standing up from a chair very painful and/or difficult. So how do you treat arthritis? MOTION IS LOTION FOR THE JOINTS!  While these degenerative changes that occur within our joints cannot be reversed, the best way to prevent further damage and decrease pain is through exercise.  Here at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, one of our expert physical therapists will evaluate you to determine the exact source of your pain.  We will then create an individualized treatment plan focusing on decreasing your pain and restoring strength and range of motion to your joints.  Let us help you get back to doing the things you love pain free!

If you or someone you know are struggling with the symptoms of arthritis do not wait any longer and risk further damage. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at (703) 450-4300. We will evaluate you to determine if physical therapy is a good course of treatment for you. CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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