Arthritis affects approximately one quarter of the population, and osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of the condition. It affects cartilage, a tough, elastic-like tissue which essentially prevents friction between the bones within a joint.
After a while, the body’s cartilage may begin to decay or wear out, leaving nothing to protect the bones from chafing against each other, and this friction can cause considerable pain and swelling to the affected area. Osteoarthritis is known as the “wear and tear” form of arthritis, and it typically affects the elderly. Those over 60 are more prone to experiencing symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, which can affect any joint in the body, although it typically strikes at the large, weight-supporting joints such as the hips, knees, feet, spine and neck.
There are a number of treatment options available in order to alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Medical experts will often recommend a combination of different therapies and lifestyle changes, including losing weight and making dietary changes.
Various medications are available which can slow the process of cartilage wear and tear, as well as reducing the pain associated with arthritis. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids are particularly effective in dealing with arthritis.
Although a reasonable amount of exercise is good for the body, pressure on the joints due to over-exertion can exacerbate arthritic conditions. Those suffering from osteoarthritis are advised to limit their exercise to low-impact activities, such as biking or swimming. Keen runners might wish to swap running for exercising on a cross trainer, since cross trainers reduce the impact on the feet and knee joints.
Physical therapy has been proven to be incredibly beneficial to those suffering from osteoarthritis. Programmes such as AposTherapy osteoarthritis treatment can help to alleviate joint pain, and repair and increase the function of joints affected by the condition.