These Factors May Be Contributing to Your Knee Arthritis

These Factors May Be Contributing to Your Knee Arthritis

While there are over 100 different types of arthritis, two of them account for most of the cases affecting the knees. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common of those two, a wear-and-tear condition that often occurs later in life. Though it seems to be age-related, OA isn’t inevitable, and there are things you can do to slow its advance or prevent it altogether. 

The team at Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine specializes in the treatment of arthritis. Being aware of the factors that contribute to OA in the knee can help you minimize the pain and mobility loss that might otherwise affect you. 

The progress of OA

Bones that meet at joints are covered with a soft tissue called cartilage that serves as a cushion and movement surface. Osteoarthritis begins when this cartilage starts to wear away. The shock-absorbing value of the tissue reduces as it degenerates, creating discomfort, pain, decreased range of motion, inflammation, and stiffness. 

OA can affect people of any age, but it most commonly appears after your 45th birthday. About 27 million Americans have OA, and the knee is one of the most affected joints. 

Risk factors contributing to OA in the knee

Though getting older isn’t a cause of OA, it is a risk factor. Your knee simply starts to wear out. It may be because of a wide range of factors that add up, each making a small contribution. Sometimes, OA can have a singular cause, such as a knee injury or surgery. 

Gender and heredity are two other risk factors about which a person can do little. Women over age 55 are more likely to develop OA of the knee than men of the same age, and if your parents or grandparents had OA, you may be at greater risk. 

Risk factors that you may be able to influence include things like: 

Repetitive strain injuries

When you have a job that frequently requires heavy lifting, kneeling, or squatting, you could be creating extra stress on your knee joints. It may be movement that your knees can handle periodically without issue, but when it becomes an everyday load, you eventually see signs of OA deterioration. 

Sports participation

Athletics also create conditions that can lead to repetitive strain or to joint injuries. As well, your mechanics can affect the load on your knees. Training with moderate strength exercises for the muscles around the knee can help distribute direct stress on the joint. Going into the game without preparation or warm-up can hasten the onset of OA. 

Extra weight

Every pound of additional body weight can create loads equal to as much as 4 extra pounds on your knees. That’s a significant force multiplier that could accelerate the progression of OA. On the flip side, losing even small amounts of weight reduces the force on your knees substantially. 

When the pain and mobility issues caused by arthritis start interfering with daily life, contact the nearest office of Southern Westchester Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for an exam and treatment plan. We’re knee pain and knee replacement specialists, able to help you through all stages of arthritis. Book a consultation over the phone or online today. 

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