A: Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called degenerative arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. In OA, the cartilage that covers the bones in a joint thins and, in some cases, wears away entirely. This leaves bone rubbing against bone, which can cause inflammation. The inflammation causes swelling and pain and eventually distorts the originally smooth surface of the joints. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes pain and interferes with the joint movement.
The Arthritis Foundation makes the following recommendations to protect joints and prevent osteoarthritis:
• Maintain your ideal body weight. Excess weight puts stress on your joints, especially your hips, knees, back and feet.
• Move. Exercise strengthens muscles around joints; this can help prevent wear and tear on cartilage in a joint.
• Maintain good posture. Good posture protects your joints from excessive pressure, especially your neck, back, hips and knees.
• Do a variety of physical activities. Alternate periods of heavy activity with periods of rest. For example, if you do weight training one day, do aerobic exercise the next day.
• Pay attention to pain. Pain after activity or exercise can be an indication you have overstressed your joints and that they need to rest.
• Forget the weekend warrior. Start new activities slowly and safely until you know how your body will react to them.
• Avoid injury to joints. Wear proper safety equipment. Don’t leave helmets and wrist pads at home. Make sure your safety gear is comfortable and fits appropriately.
Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, www.medicap.com.