Do you have osteoarthritis? Do you feel like your joints are getting older before your time? And do you want to stay active but find it painful to move? If so, then read on. Osteoarthritis can be a challenging condition, especially when it comes to movement. Even so, that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let this disease take over your body. Many easy Osteoarthritis exercises can help reduce symptoms and improve your joint mobility.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage cushions joints wear down over time, it most commonly affects the knees, hips, and hands. As you get older, your cartilage—the smooth, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet in a joint—can break down and wear away. This erosion exposes bone endings, leading to pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving. The condition is painful and can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Joint injuries, such as falls or sports injuries, can cause osteoarthritis. In this case, the cartilage does not wear out so much as it is injured and never gets replaced. This osteoarthritis worsens over time, eventually leading to full-blown damage in some joints.
What is Cartilage?
Understanding how osteoarthritis develops helps to know first what cartilage is and its role in the human body. Cartilage is not a type of bone; rather, it’s a fibrous structure with few blood vessels that serve as an intermediary between bones and other soft tissues throughout the body. Cartilage is the flexible connective tissue that lines the bones and protects the joints. It reduces friction between the bones, allowing for smooth and easy motion. While cartilage is an important part of the body’s defense system, it is susceptible to injury. One of the most common causes of cartilage damage is age-related degeneration. If this happens, cartilage can lose its ability to cushion and protect against impact, resulting in pain and inflammation. There are several ways to increase the amount of cartilage in your body: Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic Stress.
Types of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can be classified as either primary or secondary. When there is no known cause, it is termed primary; when causation is an underlying injury or condition, it is known as secondary.
People with osteoarthritis have an increased risk of developing other types of arthritis later in life. The most common is primary osteoarthritis, which happens when the cartilage is missing or damaged before someone reaches middle age. Primary osteoarthritis is also known as idiopathic osteoarthritis. The condition’s cause is unknown, hence the term “idiopathic.” Although the cause remains unknown, researchers have identified several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing it, such as the following:
One of the biggest risk factors for osteoarthritis is genetics, so it’s no surprise that several genes are strongly linked to osteoarthritis. For example, a gene called “COL1A1” is highly associated with osteoarthritis risk in people with certain mutations. COL1A1 gene provides instructions for making part of a large molecule called type I collagen; the fibrillar collagen is found in most connective tissues, including cartilage.
In addition to individual genes, specific genetic variants may be more common in certain populations of people with osteoarthritis, such as in Native Americans or Latinos. While this is promising news for researchers looking for genetic clues, it’s important to remember that there isn’t one “genetic cause” for osteoarthritis —it’s likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Obesity is a significant health issue that affects millions of people around the world. Obesity can significantly impact your overall health and lead to heart disease, diabetes, and even arthritis. Studies have shown that obesity can increase the risk of osteoarthritis in both men and women. The connection between obesity and osteoarthritis is complex but appears to be related to an increased level of inflammation in people with obesity. It is currently unclear what causes this increased inflammation, but it may be related to how long someone has been obese or how severe their obesity is.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in older adults. It affects more than 25 million people and is one of the leading causes of disability in older adults. Half of all people age 65 and older will develop osteoarthritis sometime during their lives. But it’s important to note that osteoarthritis doesn’t necessarily mean you’re old. It can happen at any age and affect anyone with a family history of the condition or certain risk factors. Several ways increasing age can lead to osteoarthritis. Still, three main mechanisms have been identified: wear-and-tear from aging joints, damage from inflammation, and loss of cartilage with aging (which is why osteoarthritis can affect both men and women).
Repetitive Stress is a major cause of osteoarthritis and is caused by the load on the joints – any repetitive movements such as lifting, twisting or bending. The repetitive strain on the joints causes inflammation, which leads to joint destruction. Many factors can contribute to Repetitive Stress, including obesity and poor posture. Today, many people are working longer hours sitting at their desks or lifting heavy objects at work. There are also many repetitive tasks, such as gardening and housework, that people have to do every day. All of these activities put extra pressure on your joints. It is important to support your joints with good posture and not lift heavy objects frequently. When you lift heavy objects, use your legs instead of your back muscles which can cause back pain and other health issues. When sitting at a desk, ensure you sit straight with your feet flat on the floor so you don’t put pressure on your knees. It also helps to avoid taking long breaks, so you don’t overstretch your muscles when you get up from the chair.
The connection between previous injuries and osteoarthritis is very real. So much so that many researchers believe that previous joint injury is a major cause of osteoarthritis. Previous injuries can lead to degeneration of the cartilage that lines the joints in your body. If you have damaged cartilage before, it causes the immune system to attack it, which causes inflammation and wearing down of the cartilage. Previous fractures are one risk factor for OA. Around 30% of people with a previous fracture will develop OA within 10 years of their previous fracture. The evidence supporting this connection is strong. Several studies have shown that having a previous fracture increases your chances of developing OA by 25-50%. This link is further strengthened when you consider that people with two or more fractures also have an increased risk of developing OA.
High Impact Sports
High-impact sports have been consistently linked with an increased risk of osteoarthritis. High-impact activities, such as running, jumping, or landing from a jump, can strain joints’ muscles, ligaments, and tendons, causing inflammation and damage. The most common type of osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease; it occurs as the cartilage in joints breaks down over time. This disease affects the hands, wrists, knees, and hips. Researchers are still exploring how high-impact sports contribute to degenerative joint disease, but they think repetitive movement contributes to joint wear and tear. More research is needed to determine if there are ways to reduce the risk of degenerative joint disease in athletes.
Occupations that require a lot of physical labor
Occupational and physical strain may be a major factor in the development of osteoarthritis. Occupations requiring a lot of physical labor can strain the knee joint, causing it to become inflamed or worn out over time. In addition, osteoarthritis may be associated with other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. For this reason, it is important for people who work in positions that require a lot of physical labor to take precautions to protect their knees from damage. This includes taking breaks to stretch and strengthen muscles and wearing comfortable shoes that provide support.
Secondary osteoarthritis occurs after another condition has weakened the body’s ability to heal. It occurs when a preexisting condition leads to the breakdown of cartilage in a joint. It usually occurs as a result of trauma or misalignment of a joint. For example, if someone had an infection that led to trauma to the area around their hip joint, they would be more likely to develop osteoarthritis there in future years than someone who did not experience that same trauma. The cause of secondary osteoarthritis is often unknown but may include steroid use for cancer treatment or chronic inflammation due to autoimmune conditions like lupus.
Many conditions can cause secondary arthritis, including:
- Joints affected by genetic conditions such as joint hypermobility syndromes. congenital hip dislocation and hip dysplasia
- Having metabolic conditions such as gout, ochronosis (a bluish-black discoloration of the skin and cartilage. It is generally caused by a rare genetic disease called alkaptonuria), and hemochromatosis (a disorder in which the body can build up too much iron in the skin, heart, liver, pancreas, pituitary gland, and joints)
- Neuropathic conditions such as diabetes and syphilis
- Endocrine conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and acromegaly (a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone, causing body tissues and bones to grow more quickly)
- Trauma, such as an ACL tear, a bone fracture, or a meniscectomy (surgery to treat a damaged meniscus in the knee)
- Other conditions, such as infectious arthropathy, Paget disease, and osteonecrosis
There are also some risk factors that you can control to reduce your chances of developing osteoarthritis. These include eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat, maintaining a healthy weight, staying active; having good blood flow to your affected joints; and limiting exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants.
We can do many things to prevent Osteoarthritis from occurring in our bodies. Still, it’s important to recognize that even if you don’t have a known risk factor for Osteoarthritis, you should still be checked for the disease by a doctor before starting any new medication or treatment regimen.
How to Prevent and Alleviate Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Maintaining healthy joints and bones is important to prevent or mitigate osteoarthritis. Physical therapy, weight loss, and exercise are all ways to help keep arthritis in check. Additionally, it is important to follow a healthy diet to get the nutrients you need for healthy joints. Being mindful of your posture can also help prevent osteoarthritis. Remember to take daily breaks and sit up straight when watching television or working on computers.
If you’re suffering from osteoarthritis, there are many things you can do to help treat the condition. By maintaining healthy living habits (like staying hydrated), taking supplements (like fish oil), and taking care of your body (like exercising), you can help reduce pain and inflammation in your joints.
It’s well known that exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy. The benefits of exercise include improved joint mobility, reduced pain, improved sleep quality, and even decreased mental Stress. Research has shown that people with osteoarthritis can reduce their symptoms when they regularly exercise. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering starting an exercise routine. They can give you guidelines for safe exercises, to begin with.
When you have osteoarthritis, your body is more likely to experience pain and swelling when you do any exercise because the joints are not moving properly. An average person just starting with an exercise routine will find it difficult to perform exercises because of their pain. This makes it even harder for people with osteoarthritis to perform exercises such as weightlifting and cardio routines. To avoid this, you should start with low-impact exercises and gradually build up your fitness routine as your condition improves.
We will go through 5 Easy Exercises for people with osteoarthritis. This idea came from you, our Facebook Fan members, who submitted questions and let me know what you need help with.
5 Easy Osteoarthritis Exercises
1. Full Body Opener
Stand upright with your head, shoulders, hips, and legs in a straight line. Bend your knees and hips to squat down and bring both hands behind you. Straighten your legs and hips out, and bring both arms overhead. Repeat the sequence of movement.
If you want to increase the intensity of the exercise, you can also increase the speed of each repetition.
Full Body Opener
Intensity is light. Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions. The time is 10 seconds. The purpose of the exercise is to utilize the joint, which is important. The purpose includes working the muscles around the joints, specifically the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and core areas.
2. Ball Squat on The Wall
For this exercise, we may use the stability ball as it is a good tool for a wide variety of exercises that allows you to create an alternative way of doing the exercise and decrease the Stress on your joints throughout the exercise.
Begin by leaning the ball against the wall and leaning against your back. Bring the legs out and extend both arms in front. Go into a squat position. Run the ball on your lower back area. Ideally, you want the hip to pass the knee. Rise back up and repeat the movement.
Ball Squat on The Wall
Start with 1 set of 5 to 10 repetitions. Intensity is light. The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the lower body but to be in a position where it emphasizes the hips more than the knees.
3. Wall Plank with Reach
Begin in an upright standing position with your hands against the wall. Move your feet back to increase the angle of your body. Tighten the abdominal area and bring one arm overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement alternating on the opposite hand.
Wall Plank with Reach
Intensity is light. Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions on each side, alternating back and forth in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the end position. The exercise aims to work the core, the muscles around the shoulder blade, and the shoulder.
4. Seated Leg Lifts
Sit upright on a chair or bench, keeping your head, shoulders, and hips straight. Place your hands on both sides. Straighten one leg out with your toes pointed out towards the ceiling. Lift the leg and return down. Repeat the movement on the opposite leg.
Seated Leg Lifts
Intensity is light. Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions on each side, alternating back and forth in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the end position. The exercise aims to reinforce good posture in the upper body, working the core area and strengthening the muscles around the hip.
5. 3-Step Jumping Jack
Begin in an upright standing position maintaining good alignment with your head, shoulders, hips, and legs. Step to one side as you raise your hands overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.
3-Step Jumping Jack
Start with 1 set of 5 repetitions on each side, alternating back and forth in a smooth, controlled movement with a good stop at the end position. Intensity is light. The exercise aims to work on balance in the leg and hip and work on a good range of motion regarding the shoulders.
In addition to exercise, eating a healthy diet can also benefit osteoarthritis treatment and mitigation. Foods such as fish, vegetables, and whole grains are good for your joints, so ensure you get these in your diet regularly. Finally, consider taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) if your OA symptoms are severe. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) help relieve pain and inflammation by blocking the production of certain chemicals in your body called prostaglandins. While there is no cure for OA, treating the condition early can help prevent it from worsening. So make sure to take care of yourself by staying active and eating a healthy diet!