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Understanding Arthritis

Did you know more than 50 million adults have been diagnosed with arthritis? Arthritis is an umbrella term for conditions that cause inflammation of one or more joints. Arthritis can effect anyone at any age; however, statistics have shown that it is more prevalent in those who are greater than 65 years of age. Some additional risk factors of developing different types of arthritic symptoms include:

  • Previous injuries to the joints
  • Repetitive actions
  • Genetics
  • Gender

Each risk factor may only be linked to a specific kind of arthritis. For example, age is linked closely with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Gender is closely correlated with rheumatoid arthritis as women are more likely to suffer from RA. There are over 100 different types of arthritis; the most common of which are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is referred to as “wear and tear” arthritis; it is caused by the degeneration of the cartilage in between the joints. Cartilage serves as a cushion between the joints and assists with mobility and flexibility. Once the cartilage is worn down, we begin to feel inflammation, stiffness and pain in our joints. Osteoarthritis primarily effects the hands, knees and hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition, meaning your immune system begins to attack the body especially the tissues around the joints. With rheumatoid arthritis, your joints, such as your wrists, can become irritated, red, and swollen. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the elbow, shoulder and wrist joints. It may also affect other organs and body systems.

These conditions can have profound impacts to your lifestyle; however, treatments are available to maintain range of motion and to decrease inflammation. One of the best ways to reduce pain and inflammation is to exercise and to stay active. Recommended exercises include:

  • Low-impact or non-impact exercises, such as a seated exercise class
  • Yoga or stretching to improve your range of motion
  • Mediation or calming exercises to reduce stress
  • Aquatic exercises

Our goal for you is to stay active and healthy every step of the way! If you suffer from stiff joints or decreased, painful mobility, contact the Therapy Team @ St. Mark Village with any questions you may have. Our Therapy Team specializes in pain management, individualized therapeutic exercise and specialized modalities. Better bones create healthier, more stable quality of life.

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