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How to Take Control of Arthritis and Keep it From Progressing

By: Devin Wurman, DPT

You’ve probably been out somewhere and had a friend or family member say that they were stiff, or even heard them predict the weather because of how they were feeling.  It’s pretty common from middle age and on to have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of the joints, more specifically the cartilage that lines a joint.  When this smooth material is worn down, the joint no longer will move like it’s supposed to.  This occurs because the bones that are a part of the joint are rubbing together. Common symptoms are:

  • Pain during movement of the joint
  • Stiffness after being in one position for too long
  • Tenderness along the joint line
  • Loss of flexibility or movement of the joint
  • Clicking or grinding noise in the joint

Osteoarthritis is something that develops over time, but there are factors that will increase your risk of developing arthritis:

  • Increased age
  • Females > males
  • Obesity
  • Previous injuries to the joint
  • Previous surgeries involving the joint
  • Genetics
  • Occupations that involve repetitive stress

Even though it’s a progressive disease, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take control of how it affects you.  Symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and exercise.  Physical therapy is a great way to get started!  Physical therapists will do a thorough evaluation and determine what needs to be addressed.  The goal would be to increase the range of motion of the joints affected and increase the strength of the muscles that surround the joint.  We can’t change the structure of what is going on inside of the joint, but we can give it a support system so that less stress is placed on the joint and in return would result in less pain.  Medications and steroid injections are prescribed when the pain is hindering daily activities, but are usually only temporary and/or assist with tolerating exercises.  If you are having any of the above noted symptoms, handle it early on!  You will have the best chance at slowing down further deterioration and be able to continue to enjoy the things you love to do longer! Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 and CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

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