As a sports rehab specialist, I often see patients with osteoarthritis, which is a common condition that affects joints, particularly weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage in the joint wears down over time, leading to friction and pain, and sometimes bony overgrowth.
Recent literature highlights the high prevalence of osteoarthritis, with estimates suggesting that over 30 million adults in the US alone are affected by the condition. Despite its prevalence, it is important to note that osteoarthritis is a normal part of aging and that it can occur even in individuals who have led a healthy, active lifestyle. It is also important to note that the discovery of these changes does not correlate very well to any level of pain or discomfort.
To manage osteoarthritis, it is crucial to maintain or increase strength and to continue moving. This can help to reduce pain and improve joint function. While osteoarthritis cannot be “cured”, exercise and other forms of conservative treatment can help to manage symptoms and improve quality of life for those with the condition.
At APC, we make sure to not just treat the affected joint, but to manage the system in which the joint functions. This may result in much of the treatment focus being on other areas of the body, also including optimizing ergonomics, nutrition, and sleep.