Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with arthritis you may be interested to know more about it. Instead of being a disease alone, arthritis is a term used to describe a broad range of conditions that affect the body’s joints. Joints are the part where two bones connect – they are what makes the skeleton flexible.
Arthritis happens when an area in or around a joint becomes inflamed, causing stiffness, pain and even difficulty moving. Other parts of the body can also be affected by some types of arthritis, such as the skin and internal organs. Ranging from mild to severe, arthritis affects nearly 4 million Aussies, including at least 6,000 children.
What Is the Main Cause of Arthritis?
The causes of the different types of arthritis are still not fully known. However, experts believe that most forms are caused by a fault in the immune system that causes the body to attack its own tissues in the joints. This may be inherited genetically. Certain metabolic conditions, such as gout, are also known to cause certain forms of arthritis. Certain environmental factors can contribute to the development of arthritis too, such as obesity (which puts added strain on joints), and activities involving repetitive movements of a particular joint.
What Are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
Although different people experience different symptoms, an individual who has arthritis will almost certainly experience pain, redness, and warmth in a joint, swelling in a joint, and stiffness or reduced movement of a joint. Other common symptoms people with arthritis present are weight loss, tiredness and feeling unwell.
Can Anything Improve Arthritis?
Although there’s no cure for most types of arthritis, there are a lot of things you can do to improve the condition and live well with it. Here are some of the best things you can do to manage the condition in daily life.
Take Arthritis Supplements
The pain caused by arthritis can be quite debilitating – it can interfere with basically every aspect of your life as well as prevent you from practising your favourite activities. High-quality arthritis supplements can significantly improve the quality of your life by reducing the inflammation of your joints, hence reducing your pain and improving your mobility.
Glucosamine is the most commonly used supplement. A compound that’s naturally produced by your body, glucosamine is commonly found in your cartilage. When your cartilage is damaged, glucosamine helps produce the proteins and fats to repair it. As glucosamine isn’t commonly found in foods, you need to take it in the form of a supplement.
There are arthritis supplements available in capsules, drops and topical forms and can be made from the shells of shellfish or be produced artificially. Several studies have shown that glucosamine has the power to reduce joint pain, especially in individuals with osteoarthritis. Chondroitin is another commonly used supplement for arthritis. It’s often taken together with glucosamine and has the ability to reduce pain, increase joint mobility and decrease the need for painkillers.
Curcumin supplements are known to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which help reduce symptoms of certain types of arthritis. A study reported that taking 1,000 milligrams of curcumin each day can help reduce some arthritis symptoms, including joint pain. The effects of these supplements are similar to those of over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which also have anti-inflammatory properties, can be just as beneficial for those with arthritis. Unless you eat fatty fish like mackerel and salmon two or more days a week, it can be challenging to get the necessary amount of omega-3 through food. Taking a supplement is a viable way to get the omega-3 you need. Most omega-3 supplements come in the form of fish oil, but you may want to look for one that’s derived from plants, such as flax seeds to help avoid the risk of mercury contamination found in some poorly made fish oil supplements.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight, losing those extra kilos can significantly help improve joint pain in addition to boosting the diet with arthritis supplements. That’s because extra weight puts extra pressure and strain on your joints. This not only contributes to arthritis pain but can also lead to additional complications. If you aren’t ready to commit to a gluten-free diet, know that small changes in your lifestyle, such as limiting packaged, processed foods, drinking more water, putting more veggies on your plate, and cutting down alcohol, can help you shed some extra kilos and keep them off long term.
Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when experiencing arthritis pain, but it’s one of the most effective ways to treat this condition. Regular exercise can help keep your muscles strong to support the joint, reduce joint stiffness, keep you mobile, boost your energy and mood, and even help improve your sleep. Instead of searching for top exercise for beginners, you’ll want to type “top activities that strengthen muscles but aren’t hard on joints”. Good examples of these activities include walking, swimming, and cycling. Consider also including some gentle stretches in your daily routine besides getting relief from the suitable supplements for joints.
Wear Orthotic Shoes
Do orthotics help with arthritis? Orthotic shoes not only help ease the pain but can also correct structural issues that may be causing the discomfort. Both men and women’s orthotic shoes are designed to provide cushioning to absorb shock, redistribute a person’s weight to relieve the pressure on sensitive areas of the feet, reduce stress on your lower body, and correct any issues with gait and structure.
Your vitamins for joint pain can only do so much in treating your pain. Research has shown that individuals who wear orthotics experience less severe foot pain and require fewer pain-relieving medications. It’s also been proved that using custom-made orthotics can help create long-term biomechanical changes that may not only slow down but also prevent the progression of arthritis.
Nowadays, you can find a wide range of men and womens orthotic shoes available. To find the best design that offers support and comfort, you’ll want to follow some podiatrist-approved tips. One of them is making sure the shoe shape matches your foot shape. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you’ll need a shoe with a roomy toe box to accommodate the bunions, hammertoes, and deformed joints that come with the condition.
To avoid aggravating problems or developing new ones, you’ll also want to pay special attention to the fit of the shoe’s width. Many make the mistake of just going up a shoe size to get extra space. However, when you just get a longer shoe, you run the risk of altering your flex point which is a predetermined spot in the sole of the shoe that’s supposed to bend when your toe joints bend.
And make sure the orthotic shoes you choose provide lots of support. A lot of people experience sore feet from wearing non-supportive shoes. According to experts, maximum support is paramount for easing pain in those with arthritis. The more support the shoe provides, the less work your foot will have to do with every single step.