Arthritis 101 Back Health, Hand Health, Knee Health
Arthritis 101

What it is and how it affects you

Arthritis by definition is painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. The three main types of arthritis (Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid, and Psoriatic) affecting each individual differently. 

Different types of Arthritis that we treat

1. Osteoarthritis the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when joints are overused and usually affects older people, but it can also affect people with joint injuries or weight problems. 

2. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks parts of the body—especially the joints. 

Causes & Symptoms

The cause of arthritis can vary for each patient but a reduction in the amount of cartilage tissue is what causes some forms of arthritis. Cartilage tissue is crucial because it protects your joints by absorbing the pressure and shock that is created when you move and put stress on them.

You may see a decrease in your range of motion and also some skin redness around the joint area. Some other symptoms that you may experience with arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. 

Diagnostics & Treatment

There are many ways to diagnose arthritis, besides the common physical exam physicians can use imaging scans such as X-ray, MRI, and CT scans to produce an image of your bones and cartilage. 

After being diagnosed, the goal is to help you be more informed and find different methods that works best for you to make sure arthritis isn’t affecting your everyday life too much. The goal of treatment is to not only improve your joint function but also reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing while preventing any additional damage to your joints.

Exercises and Foods that help with Arthritis

You might think that with arthritis you should limit your physical activity but it is the opposite. Getting the muscle moving around your joints not only supports your bones but creates less stress on your joints.

Types of Exercise

  • Strengthening – Weight training is an example of strengthening exercise that helps to increase muscle strength and get your heart rate moving.
  • Range of Motion – Raising your arms over your head or rolling your shoulders forward and back are exercises that can improve your joint movement and relieve stiffness.
  • Aerobic – Low impact exercises such as swimming, bicycling, and using elliptical machines not only support the joint movement but your overall health.
  • Other Activities – Any movement no matter how big or small can help to relieve joint stiffness. The most important thing is to make sure you are comfortable with the exercises and stopping if you feel pain.

There are always changes that you can make to your diet to help improve your overall health. Although there is no diet to make your arthritis disappear, there are foods that can help your life with arthritis more manageable.

Healthy Fatty Acids

Polyunsaturated fatty acids are usually associated with health but their anti-inflammatory health benefits go beyond the heart, extending to people with arthritis.

  • Some examples are wild salmon and other freshwater fish, flaxseed, and olive oil.

Load up on fruits and vegetables

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet sounds clique but focusing on items with anti-inflammatory properties can improve your joint pain. Some examples are;

· Cherries and berries

· Citrus fruits

· Mushrooms

· Broccoli

· Cauliflower

Before making any big changes to your diet remember to consult your service provider to ensure you are adding foods that best suit your needs.

With different types of arthritis, it is always best to consult your provider to ensure you are doing the right exercises and targeting the joints that are affected. With providers in multiple specialties, you are sure to find the perfect fit at Iowa Ortho. If you have any questions please call Iowa Ortho at 515-247-8400 or request an appointment online.