Arthritis affects people of all ages
Busting 3 Common Arthritis Myths
By Dr. Jerod Hines, Orthopedic Surgeon, Valor Health
Just about everyone has heard of “arthritis,” but there are a lot of misperceptions about the disease. Following are important facts that can help you make informed decisions about your joint health and take steps to live your best life.
MYTH 1: Arthritis only affects older people
It’s true that the most common type of arthritis (osteoarthritis) is often caused by wear and tear on the cartilage through the natural aging process. What many people don’t realize is that osteoarthritis can also develop as a result of an injury. Another fact: There are many forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid, psoriatic and gouty arthritis, which can affect people of all ages.
MYTH 2: People with arthritis should avoid exercise
Although pain or stiffness may cause arthritis sufferers to limit activity, not exercising can cause even more problems. That’s why it’s important to talk with your doctor about an exercise program that’s right for you. The goal is to help improve range of motion, strengthen muscles around joints, and help reach or maintain a healthy weight.
MYTH 3: The only ‘real’ treatment for arthritis is surgery
This may be the biggest misperception that keeps people with joint pain from talking with an orthopedic specialist. In many cases, nonsurgical options are recommended first. For example, physical therapy, lifestyle changes and medications/injections can often help minimize symptoms. In some cases, they can even slow the progression of joint damage.
If nonsurgical treatment is ineffective, joint replacement can be discussed. This type of surgery is focused on significantly improving movement and flexibility, and relieving pain. (In fact, many of my patients have shared that they are “pain free,” “active” and “enjoying a better quality of life” since having joint replacement surgery. One patient even said her hip replacement surgery was “a piece of cake!”.)
If you have questions about joint pain or would like to schedule an initial evaluation, the Valor Health Orthopedics team is here for you.