Arthritis is a painful inflammatory condition and it exacts a high physical, mental, and financial toll on many aging Americans. The joint health experts at CMC Orthopaedics have the scoop on the condition and how to manage and treat it.
What you need to know about arthritis
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children are suffering from joint pain (or disease). By 2040, the number of adults with arthritis is projected to increase to 78.4 million. It’s further estimated that two-thirds of adults with obesity will develop knee osteoarthritis at some point in their life, so rates of osteoarthritis will increase with the obesity epidemic.
Arthritis affects the cartilage and connective tissues in and around your joints, causing pain and swelling, and decreased function. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage to the joint(s) and long-term disability.
There are over 100 types of arthritis but osteoarthritis is the most common. The joints typically affected by osteoarthritis are the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, wrists, hands, lower back, and neck.
Arthritis can affect anyone, of any age, but is most common in adults older than 65 years of age. By 2040, the incidence of arthritis is estimated to increase to one in four Americans.
A study by the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance investigated the financial burdens of the disease. It found the projected cost of osteoarthritis in America from 2008 to 2014 averaged $486.4 billion. From 2013-2015, adults with arthritis reported 180.9 million total lost workdays, which constituted 34% of reported lost workdays for any medical condition.
What can be done to reduce the impact on patients and the nation’s healthcare system?
Early diagnosis is key
Firstly, if you are suffering from joint pain or problems, you should communicate that to your primary care provider. They can assess and order any appropriate tests. Early diagnosis is valuable to provide early treatment and minimize long-term permanent joint damage.
Also, your primary care provider may deem it beneficial to refer you to a rehabilitation specialist as a treatment option for your arthritis. Such specialists may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, and/or a certified hand therapist. These rehabilitation specialists can educate you about arthritis and how to protect your joints.
Strategies may include splinting, bracing, and using ergonomic tools like special can openers, pen attachments, and walking aids. In addition, patients can be taught pain management strategies, how to reduce inflammation, and how to safely strengthen the muscles surrounding their affected joint(s). Strong muscles help to support arthritic joints, which, in turn, help minimize or slow the degenerative process.
If these strategies aren’t working and providing you with adequate pain relief, then it may be time to seek specialized treatment from orthopedic specialists like those at CMC Orthopaedics. They can help you find a new solution to your joint pain and discomfort to help improve your quality of life and minimize your symptoms.
Activity is vital
Keeping active is important as this will help to prevent weight gain and thus limit the amount of stress and strain on the weight-bearing joints like the hips, knees, and ankles. Excess pounds put extra pressure on your joints and can exacerbate arthritis pain. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on your joints and improve your mobility.
Regular exercise can also help you manage arthritis pain by strengthening the muscles around the affected joints, improving flexibility, and reducing inflammation. Low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, and cycling are recommended for people with arthritis. However, it’s essential to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program and to start slowly until you build up your strength.
Arthritis is a multifaceted disease, and many patients have complex care needs. As a result, you may benefit from the skills of other practitioners, including surgeons, rheumatologists, dietitians, and pharmacists. That’s where CMC Orthopaedics can help. Our experts employ a team approach to arthritis care which can make a huge difference in helping you manage this disease.
For expert joint health care in Myrtle Beach or Conway, contact our team today!
Here at CMC Orthopaedics, we specialize in joint pain relief for all areas of the body to help you work toward a better quality of life. We take great pride in offering the finest treatments and surgical procedures geared towards alleviating joint pain and providing the best experience for our patients at every step of the recovery process.