Arthritis: Understanding & Living With the Condition

What is Arthritis?—The Painful Facts

Arthritis affects around 46 million adults in the United States—that’s about one in five Americans! And the scary thing is that the number is rising. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints (the points where your bones meet) in one or more areas of the body.

Arthritis doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age—it can affect anyone from young children to seniors. Generally characterized by joint pain and stiffness, arthritis makes movement painful and difficult.

Symptoms & Types of Arthritis

There are more than 100 types of arthritis out there that appear in different forms and types. Some of the most common types of arthritis include:

Osteoarthritis. The most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage covering the end of the bones gradually wears away. It can occur in any joint, but typically affects the hands and weight-bearing joints like your knee, hip and spine. Osteoarthritis is caused when cartilage breaks down with age or overuse.

Gout. Gout is a condition that occurs when your body can’t eliminate a natural substance called uric acid. The excess uric acid forms needle-like crystals in the joints that cause intense inflammation. Gout is extremely painful and often affects the wrist joints, big toe or knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis. A long-lasting disease that can affect joints in any part of your body except the lower back. Rheumatoid arthritis commonly affects the hands, wrists, knees and feet. The most common symptoms of arthritis involve the joints—joint stiffness and pain, mostly in the morning. Swelling of the joints, redness of the skin around the joint and a decrease in range of motion are other common arthritis symptoms.

Now for the Good News—Treatment for Arthritis

If you suffer from arthritis, joint health can be improved with exercise, medication and the right lifestyle habits.

Physical therapy can help arthritis by:
• Teaching you how to reduce strain on your joints during daily activities
• Teach you how to modify your home and workplace to reduce motions that may aggravate arthritis
• Provide splints for your wrists or hands
• Teach you exercises designed to preserve the mobility, strength and use of your joints
• Teach you proper posture while sitting and standing to protect the integrity of your joints
• Educate you on the use of walking aids when necessary
• Teach you joint protection techniques

Desert Hand Therapy & DHT Physical Therapy provide treatment solutions for your arthritis.

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