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Is grabbing and holding an object difficult because of joint pain?

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By: Kiara Holmes, ATC

Arthritis; [ahr-thrahy-tis] – Noun – The condition your parents always said you would get in your hands if you crack your knuckles.

While cracking your knuckles isn’t really a culprit for arthritis, I can tell you that NOT moving your joints will set you up for arthritis much faster.

What is arthritis? It is the degeneration of the cartilage in various joints of the body that lead to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. It can actually begin a vicious cycle, as pain leads to you trying to protect the joints by not doing as much activity, which leads to greater degeneration as the fluid in the joint is dependent on motion of that joint. This is why “Motion is lotion” is such an accurate saying. Lotion…lubricant…synovial fluid…. whatever you want to call it, your joints needs it to function well.

There are different types of arthritis but we are probably most familiar with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops from “wear-and-tear” of the cartilage in any given joint that may stem from being overweight with a sedentary lifestyle, a previous surgery, and even in some cases, having engaged in extremely high-impact activities for a long period of time. The gradual break down of the meniscus in the knee overtime is often a cause of knee osteoarthritis, causing the femur and the tibia to be “bone on bone” after having rubbed through the meniscus.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue, leading to inflammation of various joints. Those with RA may present with nodules around the affected joints along with extreme stiffness.

Those suffering with arthritis may have:

  • pain with sitting to standing
  • pain and instability with pivoting and turning
  • an increase in joint pain with cold/rainy weather due to an increase in atmospheric pressure
  • grabbing and holding onto objects of various sizes
  • Sleeping on their side

This list is not exhaustive.

While arthritis cannot be reversed, it can be easily managed and you can can prevent it from progressing. That’s why it is vital to take care of it early to decrease the rate of damage and manage pain. There are many methods for management, but the best way to help the body is to establish a low-impact exercise regimen to strengthen the muscle surrounding the joints without over stressing the joints themselves. (Don’t forget the importance of a nutritious diet that allows the body to use the vitamins and minerals necessary for tissue reproduction and decreasing inflammation in the body). With appropriate exercising, strengthening the muscle, and the accompanying motion to keep the joints lubricated, arthritis is completely manageable!

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our highly-trained clinicians are ready and willing to walk you through the process of healing and getting you back to the activities that you love! Call us today at 703-450-4300 to schedule your appointment. CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you.

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