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How To Prevent the Progression of Arthritis

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Updated March 23, 2012

How To Prevent the Progression of Arthritis

Preventing the progression of arthritis is an important aspect of treatment

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Osteoarthritis, commonly referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. Patients diagnosed with this condition often worry about the late stages of treatment consisting of joint replacement surgery. However, with efforts at preventing the progression of arthritis, many patients can avoid needing joint replacement.
Time Required: Lifelong

Here's How:

  1. Weight Control
    Obesity is one of the most significant factors contributing to the development and progression of arthritis. By losing even a small amount of weight, patients often find dramatic relief of their arthritis. Unfortunately, exercising with painful joints can be difficult, but there are ways to lose weight while protecting joints.

  2. Activity Modification
    Impact sports can accelerate the progression of arthritis. Patients with arthritis should perform low-impact exercise activities. The best low-impact exercise options include cycling, swimming, pilates, and yoga. Stair machines and walking can all be low-impact, but are not as good.

  3. Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy can be used to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. By strengthening the muscles, the damaged joint is better supported. Physical therapists can be very helpful at teaching patients ways to stay fit despite their joint problems.

  4. Ambulatory Aids
    The most common ambulatory aids are a cane or walker. Another option for patients with knee arthritis is a special brace that can relieve pressure on the most damaged side of the joint. While not every patient can use this type of brace, it is worthwhile to ask your doctor if a so-called 'offloading brace' may be appropriate.

  5. Joint Supplements
    Glucosamine and chondroitin are often sold as 'joint supplements.' The benefit of these medications has been the subject of controversy, but they are thought to be most effective in patients with early arthritis.

  6. Anti-Inflammatory Medications
    Medications an be used to help control inflammation in the arthritic joint. These medications can help ease the symptoms of mild to moderate arthritis. Always use anti-inflammatory medications under the direction of your physician.

  7. Sources:

    "Care of the Aging or Post-Traumatic Knee" American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, July 2007.

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