A WORD ABOUT ARTHRITIS

 

Arthritis means inflammation in the body’s joints (places in the body where two bones meet).  Inflammation is swelling, redness and pain.  It’s your body’s reaction to injury or infection.

Most of the time, your body can heal the injury or infection, and the area returns to normal.  But with arthritis, the inflammation does not go away.  It may cause damage to bones and tissues around joints. This may make it hard to painful for you to move.

Arthritis most often affects the joints in your hands, knees, feet or hips.  It can also affect supportive tissues (tissues that surround the joints) and other parts of the body.

There are over 100 forms of arthritis. They are also known as rheumatic diseases.  No one knows what causes most forms of arthritis.  Some forms may be caused by an injury or infection.  Others may be passed through families or caused by viruses.  Because there are so many forms, there may be many causes.

Doctors and nurses are learning more and more about arthritis, but there is still a lot to learn.

 

TAKE CARE OF YOUR JOINTS

In a normal joint, cartilage covers the end of each bone. This lets the bones move easily against each other. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage surface softens and becomes dented and worn.  It is more easily damaged by overuse or injury.  Osteoarthritis affects each joint differently.  The joint hurts most after you overuse it or do not move it for a while.

It is important to take care of your joints.  If you do the same thing over and over again (called repetitive motion), it puts a lot of pressure on your joints.  This can cause stress and injury to the joints.  Take a break often an give your joints a rest.

Move each joint through a range of motion exercises at least once a day.  This will help to keep the joints flexible.  But don’t overdo it.  If an exercise causes more pain, stop.

Extra weight puts extra pressure on your joints.  this is particularly true about your hips, knees and feet.  They are weight-bearing joints.  Losing weight can help reduce the pressure of those joints.  And this can help reduce the pain caused by the worn out joint.

Keep your joints moving so they don’t get stiff.  Use good posture to keep your weight evenly distributed through your body.  This can ease stress on your joints.

Balance rest and activity during each day.  Work at a steady pace.  This can help to avoid overworking your joints.

 

 

 

 

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