Is Arthritis Affecting Your Game?
Did you know that Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis? While it is more common in the elderly population, it can occur in younger active populations as a result of overuse injury.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affects the cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also absorbs energy from the shock of physical movement.
In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together, causing:
- Loss of motion of the joint
Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, bone spurs (small growths called osteophytes) may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more pain and damage.
What does Exercise have to do with it?
More than likely, exercise is probably not the first thing on your mind when dealing with the pains of arthritis. But, did you know that that old school of thought has seen better days? That’s right; research has shown that exercise is an essential tool in managing your arthritis.
Regular, moderate exercise offers a ton of benefits to people with arthritis including:
- Reducing joint pain and stiffness
- Builds strong muscle around the joints
- Increases flexibility and endurance
Not to mention, regular exercise promotes overall health and fitness by giving you more energy, helping you sleep better, controlling your weight, decreasing depression, and giving you more self-esteem. Plus, it can fend off other health problems such as osteoporosis and heart disease.
An Exercise Program is Key
Starting an exercise program may seem like a whole lot of work. It doesn’t have to be! Start out slow and make it fun.
A good place to start is flexibility exercises - stretching exercises that improve your range of motion and help you perform daily activities. Once you feel comfortable with that, move on to weight training and endurance exercises. Remember, an exercise program can consist of anything from walking around the block, taking a yoga class, or playing a round of golf.
If you’re reluctant to exercise because you are in a lot of pain, you may want to start with a water exercise program. While in water your body's buoyancy reduces stress on your hips, knees, and spine. Underwater treadmills aren’t just for rehabilitation centers; they can be purchased for home use as well. Once used to treat horses recovering from injuries, the underwater treadmill is now making a big splash with those in sports medicine, rehabilitation and fitness training for people with chronic conditions, such as arthritis, and acute conditions, such as sports injuries.
Whatever exercise program you decide on, you should always consult with your doctor before getting started. A physical therapist can show you the proper techniques and precautions when performing certain types of exercise. An occupational therapist can show you how to perform daily activities without putting additional stress on your joints and can provide you with splints or assistive devices that can make working out more comfortable.
Third Annual Creaky Bones 5K Run/One Mile Walk, and Kids Monster Dash!
Come join me at the Third Annual Creaky Bones 5K Run/One Mile Walk, and Kids Monster Dash! It’s coming up on October 17, 2009
and it would be a great way to get moving! It's going to be a fun-filled, family oriented event. The One Mile Walk is pet friendly; Kids Monster Dash has finisher medals and trophies for the winners; 5K Runners receive Syntrel micro fiber training tee
& awards (by age group) for winners. You can visit www.legacypt.com/creaky.htm
for more info. Proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation supporting research for a cure, local services including exercise programs and summer camps for kids with Arthritis. Send me a message if you plan to attend!
Legacy Physical Therapy & Sports Training