Affecting one of every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. As arthritis is becoming an increasingly common condition, there have been several myths and misconceptions about the disease that have spread throughout the years. It’s time to debunk some of these myths and learn the truth about arthritis and joint pain.
Myth 1 – All joint pain is arthritis.
There are several other conditions that can cause joint pain such as tendonitis, bursitis or other soft-tissue injuries, celiac disease, etc. Visit an experienced doctor to discover the right diagnosis and treatment.
Myth 2 – Only old people get arthritis.
That is a very common misconception, Dr. Vivian Bykerk, assistant attending rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York says “it can happen to 1- and 2-year-olds, it can happen to 90-year-olds and to anyone in between.” Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that two-thirds of people with arthritis are younger than 65, and a recent study found that it affects nearly 1 in 250 children. Osteoarthritis is a common condition that tends to appear in older adults, however “types of arthritis characterized by joint inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, can happen at any age” (abcnews).
Myth 3 – Cracking knuckles can cause arthritis.
Many people crack their knuckles out of habit. Chances are, they have heard that this could someday cause arthritis. Studies that have been performed to test this theory have shown no link between the cracking of knuckles and the increased risk of developing arthritis. However, according to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, a couple of medical reports “found a link between cracking knuckles and injury to the ligaments surrounding the joint or to dislocation of the tendons. Another study found that people who crack their knuckles may not grip items as strongly as people who don’t crack their knuckles” (abcnews).
Myth 4 – You should not be active if your arthritis acts up.
One of the main causes of arthritis is a lack of physical activity. A more active lifestyle can actually help your joints become more flexible over time and could reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis. Swimming, walking, working out on an elliptical, moderate weightlifting, etc. are all exercises that can help maintain your strength and natural range of motion while still being gentle on your joints. Many doctors have put a lot of time and thought into exercise programs that are optimal for arthritis patients, allowing them to exercise effectively without damaging their already painful joints.
Myth 5 – Don’t worry about minor pain.
Many people downplay their joint pain and accept that it’s just something they have to live with. However, this type of pain should not be ignored. You should consult with a doctor if the pain lasts more than a week or two, becomes worse over time, or if it interferes with your daily activities. Ignoring joint pain could lead to further joint deterioration and may lead to a total joint replacement in the future.
Myth 6 – Not much can be done to alleviate the pain and disability of arthritis.
You may think that little can be done to help your arthritis, but this is not true. More can be done today to ease the pain of arthritis and to slow joint deterioration than ever before. For example, many people with serious types of arthritis that were experiencing high levels of pain and limited mobility are back to pain-free active lifestyles after receiving an Arthrosurface HemiCAP® implant. Besides the Arthrosurface joint restoration technology, there have been several advances such as drugs, surgeries, exercise programs, and other medical treatments that have improved the symptoms of arthritis.