Healthy Joints vs. Arthritic Joints

To maintain or boost your joint or orthopedic health, exercise is the answer. “If you rest, you rust.” That becomes true when it comes to your joints. If your joint pain keeps you away from being active and doing the things you want to do, not engaging in some physical exercise can end up increasing your pain until it becomes difficult to do anything else. In this read, we will look at how to maintain healthy joints so you can keep living the life you want to live.

A healthy joint-
A healthy joint or healthy cartilage is the one that helps you move and have perpetual physical engagements by allowing bones to glide over one another. It also acts as a protection to the bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other and creating any resistance. Keeping your joints healthy will allow you to run, walk, jump, play sports, and do the other things you like to do.

An arthritic joint-
Arthritis is a common disorder that affects your joints. An arthritic joint can cause pain and inflammation, making it difficult to move or stay active. There are many types of arthritis. While arthritis usually affects older adults, it can develop in men, women, and children irrespective of their age.

Key differentiators between healthy joints and arthritic joints
Arthritic joints are different from healthy joints in the following ways: They have less lubrication, more synovial inflammation, less cartilage at the ends of the bones, more bone spurs from joint instability, reactive bone marrow cysts, and thickening of the bone at the joints since there is a loss of some of the cartilage that normally lies over the bone.

Causes of Arthritis-
A lot of various reasons can lead to arthritis. There is no single cause of all types of arthritis. The cause or causes vary according to the type or form of arthritis.

Possible causes of this problem may include:

  • An injury, leading to degenerative arthritis
  • Abnormal metabolism of a person
  • Inheritance, such as in osteoarthritis

Most types of arthritis are linked to a combination of various factors, but some have no obvious reason and appear to be unpredictable in their emergence.

Many people may be genetically more likely to develop a certain kind of arthritic condition. Some other factors like a previous injury, infection, smoking, or physically demanding occupations, can interact with genes to further increase the risk of arthritis.

Diet and nutrition can play a vital role in managing arthritis and the risk of arthritis, although specific foods, food sensitivities, or intolerances are not known to cause arthritis. Foods that increase inflammation, particularly animal-derived foods and diets high in refined sugar, can make symptoms worse, as can eating foods that provoke an immune system response.

How Is Arthritis Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of arthritis is the first step toward its treatment.

Your doctor will-

  • Consider your complete medical history. This will include a description of your symptoms.
  • Do a physical exam. Your doctor will check for swollen joints, tenderness, redness, warmth, or loss of motion in the joints.
  • Use imaging tests like X-rays. These can often tell what kind of arthritis you have. X-rays are used to diagnose osteoarthritis, often showing a loss of cartilage, bone spurs, and in severe cases, bone rubbing against bone.
  • Test your blood or urine samples. These tests can help tell your doctor what type of arthritis you have or rule out other diseases as the cause of your symptoms.
  • Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis include one for antibodies called rheumatoid factors (RF), which most people with rheumatoid arthritis have in their blood, though RF may also be present in other disorders.

How Is Arthritis Treated?
The goal of treatment is to provide pain relief, increase joint mobility and strength, and control the disease as much as possible. Your doctor has several options to help you manage pain, prevent damage to the joint, and keep inflammation at bay.

Treatment of arthritis could include rest, physical therapy, hot or cold compresses, joint protection, exercise, drugs, and sometimes surgery to correct joint damage. Your treatment plan may involve more than one of these.

Treatments for osteoarthritis generally can help relieve pain and stiffness, but the disease may continue to get worse.

Arthritis Treatment: Physical Therapy
Protecting your joints is an important part of arthritis treatment. With the help of a physiotherapist, you can learn easier ways to do your normal activities. A physiotherapist can teach you how to:

  • Avoid positions that strain your joints
  • Help strengthen the joints
  • Use your strongest joints and muscles while sparing weaker ones
  • Provide braces or supports to protect certain joints
  • Use modified doorknobs, canes, or walkers

Arthritis Treatment: Medicine
Arthritis treatment will depend on the nature and seriousness of the underlying condition. The main goals are to reduce inflammation and improve the function of affected joints before more serious problems occur.

To reduce pain and inflammation, your doctor will probably prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

If you’re making decisions about drugs for arthritis pain relief, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Which pain medication is best for me right now?
  • Is it safe to take this drug every day?
  • How long will I need to take this medication? Is it a short-term or long-term treatment?
  • When can I expect to see improvement in my arthritis pain?
  • Will this pain medicine interact with other medications I’m taking?
  • What potential side effects should I know about with this drug?
  • What can I do to decrease the risk of side effects?
  • What should I do if I have flare-ups of pain while taking this medication?
  • Is there anything else I can do to relieve my pain?

In general, these medications work by suppressing the overactive immune system.

Treatment of infectious arthritis typically involves large intravenous doses of antibiotics, as well as drainage of excess infected fluid from the joints.

Arthritis Treatment: Surgery
Various forms of surgery may be needed to reduce the discomfort of arthritis or to restore mobility or joint function.

If arthritic pain and inflammation become truly unbearable, or arthritic joints become so damaged, the answer may lie in surgical replacement. Today, knee and hip joints can be replaced with reliable artificial joints made of stainless steel, plastic, and ceramic materials. Shoulder joints, as well as smaller joints in the elbows and fingers, can also be replaced.

Spinal surgery is sometimes performed for neck and lower spine arthritis. Although the movement is limited after such surgery, the operations relieve excruciating pain and help prevent further damage to nerves or blood vessels.

Home remedies for arthritis
In addition to treatments recommended by your doctor, you can use dry heat from a heating pad or moist heat in the form of a hot bath or a hot-water bottle wrapped in a towel to help relieve pain and stiffness. Heat and rest are very effective in the short run for most people with the disease. Regular exercise is also important to keep the joints mobile.

If you are overweight, losing weight is key, especially when arthritis affects the lower back, knees, and legs. Extra pounds add to the load and pressure on your joints, which can cause your arthritis to get worse faster. Being overweight also raises your chances of related health problems. Consult a registered dietitian who can help you plan a healthy weight loss program.

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