What is it?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage—the part of a joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement. As cartilage deteriorates, bones begin to rub against one another. This can cause stiffness and pain that make it difficult for you to use that joint.
Do I have it?
The knees, hips, hands and/or feet are the most common places to experience pain from osteoarthritis.
Usually joints affected by osteoarthritis ache or become painful or stiff first thing in the morning, or during or after use. They may also be stiff after periods of inactivity.
What causes it?
Despite the fact that 27 million Americans experience the disease, the causes of osteoarthritis are not completely understood. Many different factors may play a role in whether or not you get OA, including age, obesity, injury or overuse of your joints, genetics or heredity, and/or muscle weakness.
How can I help prevent it?
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but you may be able to alleviate your symptoms:
- Exercise regularly to help strengthen your muscles and bones and to increase your flexibility and stamina
- Lose weight if you need to. Every one pound you lose can reduce the burden on your knees by four pounds
- Use orthotic inserts in your shoes as they can help reduce shock and stress to lower body joints and keep you active
Not medical advice, see a doctor if problems persist.
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