Seven Common Misconceptions About Arthritis

Arthritis fact or fiction

The Center providers see patients suffering from arthritis on a daily basis. As a common condition, it is very likely that most people will experience some type of arthritis in their lifetime. Like so many other common conditions, there is going to be a wealth of information available on the subject, including its causes and treatments. Pulling out the facts from the plethora of fiction is not always easy, but The Center’s expert providers bring clarification to various statements that may attract misinformation.  Here are seven statements on arthritis that will test your knowledge and bring clarity to your understanding of this common condition.

Fact or Fiction

Only adults suffer from arthritis. Fiction.

While arthritis is mainly an adult disease, some forms affect children. Juvenile arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in children. It is estimated that more than 250,000 children under 16 in the United States are affected.

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Fact.

Also known as “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions and protects the ends of your bones gradually wears away. It results from overuse, trauma, or the natural degeneration of cartilage that occurs with aging.  

Rheumatoid arthritis only occurs in large joints. Fiction.

Rheumatoid arthritis may affect both large and small joints in the body and also the spine. The body’s immune system, which normally protects the body, begins to produce substances that attack the body. With rheumatoid arthritis, the joint lining swells, invading surrounding tissues. Chemical substances are produced that attack and destroy the joint surface.

Arthritis can develop after a traumatic injury. Fact.

Post-traumatic arthritis results from an injury to the joint. If a broken bone or fracture extends into a joint it will damage the smooth cartilage that covers the joint surfaces. The surface becomes uneven and causes friction as the joint moves. Over time, the joint breaks down and becomes arthritic.

There is a cure for arthritis. Fiction.

There is no cure for this disease, but the good news is that there are many treatment options available to help manage pain and keep you active. In the early stages of arthritis, your doctor may recommend changing your activity level, wearing a brace, weight loss, or over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. As arthritis progresses and symptoms worsen, an injection may help alleviate pain in your joints and allow you to continue with activities.

Diet can help relieve joint pain. Fact.

While your diet won’t cure your arthritis, there are certain foods that have been shown to fight inflammation, strengthen bones, and boost the immune system. A healthy, balanced diet is the most important factor, and staying at a healthy weight can ease stress on your joints.

Exercise will make arthritis worse. Fiction.

Exercise is considered the single most effective non-drug treatment for reducing joint pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis. Exercise is a key strategy to relieve pain, improve energy, and strengthen muscles, which helps to better support our joints.