We usually associate arthritis with aging and severe debilitating pain that requires medication but that is not always the case. Here are a few myths and facts to keep straight so that you can deal with your arthritis properly.
- Arthritis only affects elderly people: Arthritis can affect anyone young or old. (Although most likely not very young). Although the specific causes are unknown, your genetics, age, environmental factors and weight can all play a role. Environmental factors include work that involves repetitive movements or heavy lifting.
- Don’t be active if you have arthritis pain: Regular exercise is actually helpful in keeping your arthritis pain at bay. It is important to keep your other muscles strong to support your joints as they weaken. Try to choose an exercise that is gentle on your joints (NOT basketball or high impact sports). Swimming, biking, hiking, walking, and yoga in moderation are all good options.
- Ice is bad for your joints: Your body can benefit from both hot and cold compresses. Use ice or something cold at night to help prevent inflammation and use heat in the morning to help with flexibility and stiffness.
- If your joints hurt, it’s arthritis: If your joints hurt it could be arthritis, but it could also be a lot of other things. Always make sure to see a doctor to get the right diagnosis before treatment.
- Once I have Arthritis, there’s nothing I can do: You can actually do a lot help manage your condition. One is maintaining a healthy diet and body weight. Extra weight on your joints make it even more difficult for your body if you have arthritis. Losing a few extra pounds will make it much, much easier on your knees and ankles.
One of the best things you can do for yourself if you are diagnosed with arthritis (or any other disease or illness) is to educate yourself. The more you know, the better you can treat your body, which means less pain and better outcomes. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been educating and treating patients for over eighteen years. Call our Centreville, VA office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.