Arthritis Causes

Arthritis is not a single disease. The term includes a large group of conditions that all involve progressive joint inflammation and the pain that accompanies it.  Although you may just think of arthritis as causing achy hands or knees, arthritis is actually the leading cause of disability in people over the age of 55 in Michigan and throughout the United States as well as other industrialized countries. As the body ages, bones and tissues naturally begin to deteriorate and are more difficult for the body to repair.  The cartilage in the joints that protect the bones from rubbing against each other can become brittle and lead to increased inflammation resulting in arthritis.

Of course aging is unavoidable but by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding injury, eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise you can avoid or delay the onset of many diseases that accompany arthritis. Here are a few risk factors that can lead to arthritis. Identifying these risks and taking proactive steps may allow an individual to delay or even prevent arthritis from occurring.

Obesity

Weight-bearing joints such as those in the hips and knees are especially vulnerable to arthritis because they must bear the weight of the body.  The more an individual weighs, the more weight is put on these joints, exacerbating the wear and tear on the joint.  Maintaining an ideal weight to height ratio and eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way toward decreasing arthritis risks due to weight.

Injuries

Injuries to the joints, whether from stress or trauma, can set an individual on the road to developing arthritis in and around the injury site.  A wide variety of orthotics are available that can help protect limbs and joints from damage or prevent further damage and thereby decrease the incidence of arthritis.

Physical Activity

Everyone can benefit from regular physical activity regardless of if you are currently suffering from arthritis or are currently healthy. The old saying move it or lose it is especially true when it comes to health, mobility and flexibility. A regular weekly routine that includes some weight bearing exercises and cardiovascular exercises is ideal.  If you are already suffering from arthritis speak with your doctor or physical therapist about what exercises are safe for you as some high impact exercises can be dangerous.  Typically walking, swimming and cycling are safe for arthritis suffers. You can speak with your othotist about custom orthotics that may help make these exercises more comfortable and safer for your joints.

Diet

Your diet plays a major role in your health and preventing and treating arthritis is no exception. There are several foods and supplements that can help keep your joints healthy. For example Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in oily fish including salmon, trout and sardines can help to relieve inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are also great foods for people suffering from arthritis and those hoping to prevent it. Supplements including glucosamine have also been linked to improved joint health.

Some foods can aggravate existing arthritis by creating additional inflammation in the body.  Foods high in sugar and/or fat are particularly dangerous. They also tend to lead to weight gain which puts additional pressure on weight bearing joints and further aggravates arthritis suffers.

Arthritis in Michigan is strongly linked to aging and genetics but being committed to eating a healthy diet, exercise, avoiding injury and maintaining a healthy weight can go a long way to helping to prevent and treat arthritis.  If you are looking for orthotics to help alleviate arthritis pain please visit or contact one of the Teter Orthotics and Prosthetics Michigan locations near you.

Alma, Alpena, Big Rapids, Cadillac, Charlotte, Cheboygan, Fremont, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Grayling, Greenville, Houghton Lake, Kalamazoo, Ludington, Manistee, Mt. Pleasant, Muskegon, Petoskey, Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace and Traverse City