Top Ten Myths About Osteoarthritis

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that one out of every two Americans will develop osteoarthritis in his or her lifetime.

Make an effort to prevent osteoarthritis, or to manage the symptoms. The more you know about this disease, the more you can do to avoid it.

There are many common misconceptions or myths about causes of osteoarthritis.

Myth No.1 – Cracking Knuckles – While cracking your knuckles may lead to inflammation of tendons, it won’t cause arthritis, says Patience White, MD, chief public health officer of The Arthritis Foundation.

Myth No. 2 – Wearing High Heels – If you wear low heels or sturdy one- to two-inch heels or limit your wearing of high heels to evenings or special occasions, you’re probably okay. However, if you wear very high heels day in and day out, you may increase your risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knees.

Myth No. 3 – Diet Doesn’t Affect Joints – Any pound you gain is four pounds across your knees,” White says. Being overweight increases the chances that you will develop osteoarthritis and increases the rate at which the condition, if you do develop it, will progress.

Myth No. 4 – I Can’t Exercise With Joint Pain – This is one of the biggest misconceptions about osteoarthritis,” says White. Not only can you exercise with osteoarthritis but safe, low-impact exercises can lessen the pain and improve other symptoms.

Myth No. 5 – Active Teenagers Can’t Get Osteoarthritis – Playing on a high school sports team is good for many reasons, especially if it instilled an ongoing love for fitness and knowledge about it. But if you were seriously injured, you may be at increased risk for osteoarthritis.

Myth No. 6 – My Job doesn’t Involve Repetitive Motion, So I won’t Get Osteoarthritis – It’s true that those who work in construction or on an assembly line may be more likely to get osteoarthritis, says White, but if your job involves sitting all day behind your desk, you are also at risk.

Myth No. 7 – My Parent had it, so will I – Though you are more likely to get osteoarthritis if one of your parents had it, especially if he or she had osteoarthritis of the knees, it’s not definite. “There’s a lot you can do to lower your arthritis risk, even if it runs in your family,” White says.

Myth No. 8 – Weather Can Cause Osteoarthritis – A damp, rainy climate won’t make someone who is otherwise healthy get arthritis, but it can worsen arthritis pain in those who already have the condition.

Myth No. 9 – I don’t need to see a Doctor for Joint Pain – Osteoarthritis symptoms can be managed through a combination of exercise, weight loss, pain management techniques, alternative therapies, and nonprescription and prescription medications. “ says White. If the pain lasts more than a week, it’s time to call your doctor.

Myth No. 10 – Arthritis is Inevitable as I Age According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Skin Diseases, 20 percent of Americans — about 72 million people — will be 65 years or older and at high risk for osteoarthritis by 2030.

There is a lot you can do to help prevent osteoarthritis, like maintaining a proper weight, regular exercise, rest if you have an exercise-induced injury, and work with your doctor to prevent or treat the condition.

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